Archive for category N3RD

hex168 = 360

It seems that there is another cool viral concept going on these days regarding the upcoming Xbox 360 launch in november/december.

The point seems to be that the roman numbers I, VI, VIII in these crop-circles are 168. And all links point to the website which shows us the same circle:

Since hex 168 is 360 decimal…

Sounds weird? Yes. Cool, eh?


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Microsoft Imagine Cup 2006 – it’s in india this time…

Imagine a world where “technology helps us to live healthier lives”

As last year there will be an international competition and a national competition. The categories in the international competition would be:

  • algorithm

    • prices:

      • 1st: $ 8000,-

      • 2nd: $ 4000,-

      • 3rd: $ 3000,-

    • rounds:

      • Round 1 – Complete online quiz

      • Round 2 – Complete take home challenge

      • Round 3 – Onsite 24hr WW Algorithm Finals

    • timetable:

      • Nov 1, 2005 Registration Opens

      • Jan 30, 2006 Registrations Closes – Competition begins

      • Feb 6, 2006 Round One Begins

      • Mar 15, 2006 Round One Closes

      • April 1, 2006 2nd Round finalists announced

      • April 5, 2006 2nd Round Begins

      • May 8, 2006 2nd Round Closes

      • May 22, 2006 6 Worldwide finalists announced

  • short film

    • prices:

      • 1st: $ 8000,-

      • 2nd: $ 4000,-

      • 3rd: $ 3000,-

    • rounds:

      • Round 1 – Abstract, digital storyboard

      • Round 2 – Film, and written film description

      • Round 3 – Onsite 24hr WW Finals Short Film competition

    • timetable:

      • Nov 1, 2005 Registration Opens

      • Feb 1, 2006 Abstract/storyboard submission window opens

      • Mar 1, 2006 Abstract/storyboard submission window closes

      • Mar 13, 2006 Community voting begins

      • Mar 24, 2006 Community voting closes

      • April 1, 2006 2nd Round finalists announced

      • April 5, 2006 2nd Round design submission begins

      • May 8, 2006 2nd Round design submission closes

      • May 22, 2006 Worldwide finalists announced (6 teams move on)

  • information technology (IT)

    • prices:

      • 1st: $ 8000,-

      • 2nd: $ 4000,-

      • 3rd: $ 3000,-

    • rounds:

      • Round 1 – Complete online quiz
      • Round 2 – Complete business cases

    • timetable:

      • Nov 1, 2005 Registration Opens
      • Jan 30, 2006 Registrations Closes – Competition begins
      • Feb 6, 2006 Round One Begins
      • Mar 15, 2006 Round One Closes
      • April 1, 2006 2nd Round finalists announced
      • April 5, 2006 2nd Round Begins
      • May 8, 2006 2nd Round Closes
      • May 22, 2006 6 Worldwide finalists announced

  • visual gaming

    • prices:

      • 1st: $ 8000,-

      • 2nd: $ 4000,-

      • 3rd: $ 3000,-

    • rounds:

      • Round 1 Upload round 1 DLL

      • Round 2 Upload round 2 DLL

      • Round 3 24 hr onsite worldwide finals competition

      • details relased to those competitors who achieve this status

    • timetable:

      • Nov 1, 2005 Registration Opens/ Round One Begins

      • Mar 15, 2006 Registration Closes/ Round One Closes

      • April 1, 2006 2nd Round finalists officially announced (however qualification for 2nd round will be shared with competitors as they do or do not achieve the minimum mark for advancing)

      • April 5, 2006 2nd Round Begins

      • May 8, 2006 2nd Round Closes

      • May 22, 2006 12 Worldwide finalists announced

  • interface designer

    • prices:

      • 1st: $ 8000,-

      • 2nd: $ 4000,-

      • 3rd: $ 3000,-

    • rounds:

      • Round 1: Abstract must be less than 250 words, in English. Storyboard must be less than 25 MB, using .xpr file format as source files and should run inside of a presentation framework such as HTML, PPT, etc.

      • Round 2: Website or other self installing/running interactive interface design using .xpr source files

    • timetable:

      • Nov 1, 2005 Registration Opens

      • Feb 1, 2006 Abstract/storyboard submission window opens

      • Mar 1, 2006 Abstract/storyboard submission window closes

      • Mar 13, 2006 Community voting begins

      • Mar 24, 2006 Community voting closes

      • April 1, 2006 2nd Round finalists announced

      • April 5, 2006 2nd Round design submission begins

      • May 8, 2006 2nd Round design submission closes

      • May 22, 2006 Worldwide finalists announced (6 teams move on)

and the categorie of the national competition:

  • software design

    • teams up to 4 people

    • Rounds:

      • pre-round 1: Proposal (Deadline: end of january)

      • pre-round 2: Development of the project (Deadline: end of april)

    • at least one mobile device and one web service is used along with .NET 2.0

    • pre-rounds end on 05.05.2006

    • national prices:

      • 1st: trip to the international finals in india + chance to win there

      • 2nd: tba.

      • 3rd: tba.

    • international prices:

      • 1st: $25,000

      • 2nd: $15,000

      • 3rd: $10,000

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VTrak M500i shutdown -a shutdown

You may ask why we are still testing the VTrak M500i… well… this and more details when I am awake in some hours, until then:

administrator@cli> shutdown -a shutdown

**** Shut down in progress ****

administrator@cli> Shutdown complete. It is now safe to power off the subsystem.

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Could not save file. All copies deleted.

That’s what happened just now:

GREAT! I just had the Excel file open for about..uhmm…2 weeks or something… and now this…


Star Wreck: A fan movie

It seems that there are more and more fan films these days. After the announcement of a german Star Wars movie there is “Star Wreck” – a Star Treck parody available for download.

“The first Finnish full-length scifi parody is made from astounding special effects, action and loads of dark humour. It is the product of a core group of five Finns and many people who’ve helped us during the seven years it has been in the making. You can download the entire movie by clicking here. For free, of course.”


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Information Event 6th October 2005: the pictures

we illuminated the Audimax….yellow and blue: the FeM colors.

thx to teliko for the pictures


RAID6 testing the Linux Enterprise iSCSI Target Software…

This time we got a Software RAID6 Volume with 6 drives which made a volume size of 1953584325 sectors = 953899 Megabyte. This Volume is exported with the iSCSI Enterprise Target Software for Linux.

Aparently it’s a bit faster than the Software RAID5 – which is quite interesting because we expected it to be much slower (more work for the CPU).

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 63045 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 1.15 ms): 66480 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 54418 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 51447.9 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 49329.7 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 71003.1 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 11671.8 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 10575.1 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 12278.3 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 14.47 ms
  • Minimum: 0.21 ms
  • Maximum: 28.01 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 37.96 ms
  • Minimum: 9.89 ms
  • Maximum: 100.16 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.21 ms
  • Minimum: 0.12 ms
  • Maximum: 19.65 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 15.16 ms
  • Minimum: 0.38 ms
  • Maximum: 33.09 ms

we also don’t know what the peaks are…they just show up even after several tests…

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a windows iSCSI target software: Stringbeansoftware WinTarget 2.0

We recently tested Stringbeangsoftwares WinTarget Version 2.0. It’s a software implementation of an iSCSI Target with a huge feature set.

“WinTarget Standard Edition provides the core SAN functionality required to centralize, consolidate, and manage storage centrally. The Standard Edition provides this core functionality on an economical basis for those customers that do not need, or are not ready to implement more advanced data management and protection solutions.”

We tested the Standard Edition Evaluation Version 2.0 since we do not need the other features at the moment (like DataView, Snapshot,…).

As usual first the testing setup:

We got 6x 250 GByte Harddisks on 2 Promise FastTrack 150TX4 Controllers. All this on an Intel Serverboard with an 3 Ghz P4 and 2 Gb of RAM. As the client we used the same machine as in all other tests.

14 days should be enough

When you installed it and started it the first time you’ll have something like that:

The Main-Screen of WinTarget 2.0 is divided into the information pane on the right and the section tree on the left side of the window.

WinTarget divides it’s structure into Hosts and Devices. The Snapshot Feature was not tested/used.

We started by creating a new Host:


entering the host name and description

we have to specify which Client IP can access this host…


After creating the host we can create the iSCSI Target Volumes (called “Disks” in WinTarget 2.0):

With WinTarget you can use an actually existing volume or a file to create a iSCSI Target.

We choose the RAID…


a descriptive name…

to which host does the belong to?


Attention: All Data will be deleted from the volume…(we even didn’t have to format it in the beginning…)

there it is…

and it looks good 😉

There’s a snapshot feature in WinTarget that we just didn’t test due to limited testing time.

Now everything is setup. That’s it. 😉 Just that few steps. We can now configure the iSCSI Client:

by entering the IP and Port…

selecting the exported iSCSI Target Volume…

and there it is on the client machine.


in the WinTarget environment it does look a bit different afterwards…

So. That’s it for the configuration. Since we had limited time we could not make a full benchmark of the device. It just took too long since it’s not as fast as expected.

We got around 30 to 40 Megabyte per second reading speed and not more than 7 Megabyte for writing. That’s simply horrible.

We therefore cannot recommand this software combination for our hardware configuration – maybe it’ll be faster with another hardware but as you know: we don’t have the time to test that.



we get full refund: the Promise VTrak m500i adventure is over… don’t buy it!

Today is a great day! We just finished the packaging of the Promise VTrak m500i and it’s hard disks. And soon it’s going to get back to Promise.

As you may have noticed we had trouble with our newly bought m500i. Very serious troubles that all pointed to one source: Promise. The firmware of the m500i just isn’t capable of doing the things Promise is promising. No 3 Tbyte Volumes. No DHCP for the Management port without a complete crash of the m500i. No saved settings (the m500i lost it’s settings after a power outtage). The list goes on.

mount(ed) harddisks:

Now back to business. We await the arrival of a NetApp and an IBM storage solution. So more on that subject soon.

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Weg vom Strich mit Hilfe der EU

“In Ungarn gibt es nach Schätzungen 100.000 Prostituierte. 15 von ihnen müssen dem horizontalen Gewerbe nicht mehr nachgehen – sie werden neuerdings von der EU gefördert und in einer Medienschule zu PR-Assistentinnen ausgebildet.” (Quelle: [1])

Verdammt, die sollen Medienwirtschaft in Ilmenau studieren. Oder gleich AMW. Nebenjobs gäbe es genug!

Weg vom Strich mit Hilfe der EU


Seen by medienfloh


more iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0 pictures…

I made some more pictures of iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0 that show how it looks when it’s playing songs. And some more detailed pictures of the interface itself. They tried to make it one-hand accessible which means that you can easily control iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0 with just one hand. You literally never have to pick the pen to click on something on the touch-screen – just use your thumb.

if you press on top information pane the pane is pulled aside and the toolbar is shown:

See the “toolbar”? There it is: Shuffle, Repeat, Equalizer. The button on the left is used to pull out the toolbar and pull in the information pane

…and as we know it from the other iTunes versions…

Finally some more words on the technical aspects: It seems that it’s entirely written in some .NET language since it requires the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 to run. And that leads me to the conclusion that there will not be an iTunes for Windows Mobile for earlier Windows Mobile versions like 2003 and 2003SE.

I so far was not able to actually buy anything in the apple store – iTunes just crashed when I tried. So there’s obviously more work to do for Apple than I thought yesterday.


it’s revealed… oh well… again: sort of… What is Origen?

So what is OrigenXbox360? It’s… I don’t really know. This viral marketing is going on and on like the first season of LOST. You are told some details – at least you think they are details….and then it’s some weird bunnies and trees and…

You see: It’s strange and it’s getting worse…of course you’re as ususal recommended to comment this article to exercise you’re right of free speech.


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Apple iTunes for Windows Mobile 5 spotted!!!

UPDATE: even more pictures and testing here…

I managed to get my hands on Apple iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0. After the Motorola ROKR Apple seems to get seriously into the mobile phone business. As my sources tell there will be a special data rate for T-Mobile bundled with devices that come with iTunes (maybe we’ll see an official announcement soon).

The version I could test was iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0 version 0.9. Although it looks pretty complete (everything (except bonjour) is in place and even podcast sync worked like a champ (see picture)) it’s not a customer ready version. I don’t know anything about the release dates or announcement dates at the moment.

Some words to the graphical user interface: Apple decided to use the well known iTunes in favor of the iPod user interface. Since the buttons and functionalities are all where I expected them it’s as easy to use as the “big” version of iTunes.

I did not have the time for an in-depth test yet but it seems that it is not limited in the way the Motorola ROKR is. Nevertheless I was not able to sync it with a PC/Mac iTunes yet since there are no drivers (and I haven’t got any) I successfully copied 1 GB of MP3/AAC files onto a SD Card and I could play it all. When I inserted the SD Card iTunes automatically searched for media files and rebuilt it’s library. After some seconds I could start listening.

It’s about 6 AM here and I had no sleep – so more after I woke up…

we all know this icon… now even on Windows Mobile.

This MDA2 is connected to the Internet over GPRS. You can see that a search in the iTunes podcast directory was successful.

a little bit closer

the menu. All one-hand-navigation…



arrived…nearly…well… it’ll look like that

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i-mate 1-View – all your media in one place

Since there are some new Windows Mobile 5 devices out and will come out till christmas there are many new applications showing up these days.

And one application is called “1-view”. It’s meant to be an application that gives you access to all your media on the Windows Mobile Device with one view – one GUI.

1-View on the JASJAR

the GUI…

an overview of 1-view.


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Wireless Tunes… WiFiTunes… wireless music on your Windows Mobile device

The one interesting thing is that this piece of software for Windows Mobile is giving you the possibility to listen to music which is streamed to you – hopefully wireless – from your iTunes on your Mac/PC. The second interesting thing about this application is that it’s entirely written in C# (.NET Compact Framework) and the sourcecode is/will be available. How cool is that?

“WiFiTunes is a solution that enables you to stream MP3s from a computer running iTunes to your Pocket PC. Since I last posted on the product in January, the developer has modernized the look and made the software simpler in use.”

“A C# implementation of the DAAP protocol was written using AppleRecords as a reference so thanks to Chris for doing all that tedious work. Thanks also to SPAlarm for starting a fmod C# wrapper.”


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new Avantgo sync software version that works with Activesync 4 available

The title says it all. There is a new version of Avantgo available. And this time it does work with the newly available ActiveSync 4.0.

So if you have a Windows Mobile 5 device and you’re wondering why you cannot automatically synchronize your AvantGo account then be sure you have this update installed.


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protect your property: build yourself a sentry turret

A quite nice job with some very interesting features. Please notices that this is NOT a real gun – it’s an airsoft replica of a FN P90.
These guys made quite an impressive job: Their turret is completly computer controlled and finds and follows it’s targets autonomously.

“Notice the tactical LED flashlight is glowing on the left side of the turret. There is absolutely no practical reason for that.”

Beside the complete building description there is also a short movie of the Sentry Gun in action on the website:

Source: Sentry Gun

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create something big, take the hammer and make it smaller…

..Something like that must have been in the mind of the developers of “Minimo” – a Mozilla for Windows Mobile Devices (Pocket PC/Smartphones).

It all starts with the 8.5 MByte space that that application needs on the device. And then…it took about 40 seconds to “boot” the application. After that the whole device started to get sluggish. Anyway: It does display web-pages. It does not do anything else. It took about 3-5 seconds to respond to any input I made. Of course they did not use any standard-Windows-Mobile-Widgets. Instead they coded their own controls: What a great idea! ;-(


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BUBBLES! BUBBLES! – the hitcounter YOU want to have.

You have a website and you feel depressed because nobody comments your stupid articles? You want at least a little bit of appreciation? The thing that could brighten up you’re world is: Netbubbles.

This little gadget “monitors” your website: Everytime a user hits your page, everytime someone “buys” or does anything valuable on your website the Netbubble will fire some it’s special-effect-bubbles or even some light effects.

It’s a visual feedback for “the webmaster that cares” (sorry Falko, I had to take it).

dear Netbubbles Company: I WANT ONE! 😉 I could test it… send me one!!!!1 (I don’t get enough appreciation (e.g. number of comments!))



back from the short break

On thursday the spontaneous idea came up to have a short break (4 days) at the beach. It was cold though – but nevertheless I love the sea (baltic sea in this particular case).

And of course there are some panoramic views ;).

Oh by the way: Who knows where this is?

Thanks to Anna for the 4 days.


to be honest…we don’t have an explanation

Who said that we are not communicative?

This is an error message a colleague got when he tried to start the Microsoft Max Beta:

“Microsoft® Codename Max is not like any other product. That’s because it’s not a product—it’s your opportunity to try an exciting new user experience from Microsoft. Today Max lets you make lists of your photos and turn them into beautiful slide shows to share with your family and friends. Tomorrow…who knows?”


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Radio Muckefuck #2

Radio Muckefuck #2 ist online!

MP3 Download: 2005-09-17 – Muckefuck

– In eigener Sache: Muckefuck-Erkennungsmelodie

– Wahlberatung

– Krieg erklaert: N24



some panoramic views of the Microsoft Company Meeting 2005…

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some panoramic views of the Duesseldorf harbour…

well…that’s not the harbour, that’s the meeting room…

that’s one part of it… watching straight out of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel…

that’s the view out of my room here…nice, isn’t it?

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VSPlus: managing many Virtual Server Virtual Machines

Nico brought a quite nifty tool to my attention today: VSPlus. It’s an administration tool for Virtual Server which makes it a lot easier to administrate Virtual Server Virtual Machines.

“VSPlus is a safe and green software. It has not spyware, adware or malicious code. It does not touch your registry or your files. All operatings to your virtual servers and virtual machines are over Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 COM interface.”

Source 1:
Source 2: Nicos Weblog


what’s this raid thing anyway?

You always wanted to know what I am talking about the last days? You got no idea what a RAID is? JBOD does not ring a bell? You think XORing is something sexually offensive? (Hey! You’re right!)

So free your mind of impure thoughts and look at this picture. If you did not understand that article, you probably understand what RAID is when you see this:


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he’s our worst nightmare?

If you don’t know who Eric S. Raymond is then inform youself dude! If you know already then continue reading:

So some days ago there was a little…let’s call it “incident”. Some recruiting guy – Mike Walters, CST Senior Recruiter to be precise – sent a mail to Eric S. Raymond. A mail in which he tried to recruit Eric S. Raymond as a potential contributer at Microsoft.

So, despite the fact that Eric S. Raymond tries hard to be “Craig Mundies worst nightmage” he is maybe one of the topmost active opensource maintainers in the world. That’s one guy that takes this whole opensource-thingie serious! What might Mike Walters have thought when he got Eric S. Raymonds answer:

“On the day *I* go to work for Microsoft, faint oinking sounds will be heard from far overhead, the moon will not merely turn blue but develop polkadots, and hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone will go superconductive.”

Maybe he thought: DOH! I need a new job. Actually he said mea culpa.

BTW: Eric S. Raymond DOES look a bit scary, doesn’t he?

Source 1: Who’s this Eric S. Raymond?
Source 2: We He wanted to recruit him. Doh!
Source 3: mea culpa

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an IRC Client for Windows Mobile 5.0

Since we are developing multeem at the moment it should be interesting for you to know that there is a cool IRC client for Windows Mobile 5.0.

for Pocket PC…

…and for Smartphone

“wmIRC is one of the first IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client for Windows Mobile that works on both Smartphone and Pocket PC devices. With clear and straightforward user interface wmIRC is much faster and easier to use than it’s competitors. wmIRC contains only the required and minimum set of functionality, so that even novice IRC users can work with it without any problems. wmIRC is optimized for mobile IRC users who use IRC messaging a lot. It has much nice features, that can make IRC chatting with your Microsoft Windows Mobile gadget a bliss!”


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Quantum notebook soon to be available…

There’s a great vision of the future when there are quantum computers available:

“Processor: 6.8GHZ CPU (AtomChip® Quantum® II processor / System Compliance: Two Operating Systems with Voice Command (Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional and Linux®) / Memory: 1TB Quantum-Optical non-volatile RAM (NvIOpSRAM-SODIMM 200-pin) / Storage: 2TB non-volatile Quantum RAM (NvIOpRAM-ATA IDE) / Optical Drive: DVD Super Multi / LCD Display: 12.1” WXGA (1280 x 800, 16:10) TFT Glare Type LCD display with 1.3 Mega pixel CMOS camera / Video & Graphics: Two Integrated graphic controllers [Intel®855GME internal graphics, support Intel® DVMT (Dynamic Video Memory Technology) and AtomChip® DVM (Dynamic Video Memory)] / Communication: 10/100 Base-T LAN on board, MDC Fax/Modem V.90/V.92 on Board, 802.11a/802.11b/802.11g WLAN, Intel® PRO/Wireless 2100/2200BG/2915ABG network connection, WiFi, Bluetoth, GPRS -with Bluetoth antena, CMOS camera with USB interface, Mega pixel resolution CMOS image / Pointing Device: Synaptics touchpad with 4 way scrolling button / Application Launch Key: E-mail, Internet, Capture, WLAN / LED Status Indicator: Power, Suspend/Resume, Battery Charging Status, Quantum Storage Access, Num Lock mode, Caps Lock mode, Scroll Lock mode, WLAN Lock mode / Keyboard: 3.0mm travel, inverted-T, 88keys with 2 windows key (Internet & Microsoft For Connectivity) / Interface Ports Front Side: One 4-in-1 card reader slot (support SDIO/SD/MS Pro/MS), Audio line out, Stereo Microphone-in / Interface Ports Left Side: LAN port, Modem port, SVGA–out port, One Type II PCMCIA slot (support CardBus), 1394A port (mini jack) / Interface Ports Right Side: USB 2.0 ports x 3 / Interface Port Rear Side: DC-in, Kensington Lock / Audio: Built-in two stereo speakers and Built-in Microphone / AC Adapter (Input: 100-240V AC, 50-60Hz, 1.5A. Output: 20V DC, 2.5A, 50W) / Battery: 6 cell Li-lon battery pack. Battery Charge: 3 hrs charge time to 100% capacity while system off and 4 hrs charge time while system on. Battery Life: Approximately 8 hours for AtomChip® Quantum® II processor and 3 hours for 4 x Intel® Pentium® M processors 1.7CHz / BIOS: AMI, Support PnP, password, Bootable from USB and DVD / Power Management: ACPI 2.0 compliance / Smart Battery System Support / Security: Kensington Lock / Size: 320.0(W) x 242.0(D) x 22.0(H)mm/28.0mm (front/back) / Weight: 1.9kg(when fully equipped with AtomChip® Quantum® II processor) and 2,20kg(when fully equipped with 4 x Intel® Pentium® M processors) / Packing Accessories: Quick Guide, Support CD (Driver, Utility, Manual), AC Adapter, Power Cord, Battery Pack, BOSE Headphone Music System with noise Cancelling.”

The processor.

the non volatile RAM…


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benchmarking the storages: iSCSI Enterprise Target (+Software RAID0 3 drives)

This time we got a Software RAID0 Volume with 3 drives which made a volume size of 1465176195 sectors = 715418 Megabyte.

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 78407 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 0.90 ms): 61569 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 67066 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 75843.9 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 69892.3 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 78817.2 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 30138.9 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 29723.3 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 30658.8 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 12.95 ms
  • Minimum: 0.16 ms
  • Maximum: 26.16 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 14.78 ms
  • Minimum: 0.34 ms
  • Maximum: 44.73 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 5.87 ms
  • Minimum: 0.11 ms
  • Maximum: 19.22 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.80 ms
  • Minimum: 0.29 ms
  • Maximum: 25.17 ms

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benchmarking the storages: Promise VTrak m500i RAID0

This time we got a Hardware RAID0 Volume with 4 drives which made a volume size of 2431630530 sectors = 1187320 Megabyte.

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 46290 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 1.52 ms): 44762 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 67861 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 46935.6 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 38778.7 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 47382.7 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 33474.6 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 32815.1 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 33758.3 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 12.80 ms
  • Minimum: 3.65 ms
  • Maximum: 38.18 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 0.96 ms
  • Minimum: 0.47 ms
  • Maximum: 16.54 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.60 ms
  • Minimum: 0.68 ms
  • Maximum: 1103.38 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 0.61 ms
  • Minimum: 0.47 ms
  • Maximum: 3.24 ms

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Superhelden im Realitätscheck

Also ich gestehe gleich zu Beginn, dass ich kein Superhelden-Fan bin. Für mich gleicht da einer dem anderen, und damit auch die Verfilmungen. Ob Batman, Spiderman oder die Fantastischen Vier: Alles Spinner im schrillen Latexoutfit.

Woher kommen die?

Wir alle wissen, dass in Japan extreme Gewalt- und Sexdarstellungen Ergebnis einer traditionellen Konditionierung der Gesellschaft sind. Und bei den Amis in damaligen Zeiten der Weltwirtschaftskrise und nationalsozialisten Feindbildern das Verlangen nach einer strahlenden Identifikationsfigur groß war. Daher rühen Figuren wie Superman und Captain America her. Als prüde Figuren gedacht, passen sie aber problemlos in jede Christopher-Streetday-Parade.

Und heute?

Wenn ein Mann Strumpfhosen trägt und sich eine Maske aufsetzt, dann will er damit doch etwas ausdrücken, oder? Ich will ja nicht von Transvestiten reden, aber “männlich” ist das nicht gerade. Daher ist das Gerücht nicht neu, dass Batman, Superman und all die Anderen in Wahrheit homosexuell sind (ohne das jetzt schlecht machen zu wollen). Ein weiteres Phänomen ist die charakterliche Blassheit, die viele Superhelden ausstrahlen. Und so einer soll Führungs- und Vorbildfunktion haben? Kein Wunder, dass sich in der Realität viele Menschen lieber dafür entscheiden, Drogendealer, Temposünder oder Steuerhinterzieher zu werden, weil das cooler und nicht so spießig ist.

Superman: “Junge, hör auf zu rauchen!”
Junge: “Ach halt doch die Schnauze, du Schwuchtel!”

Die Gegenspieler…

… sind meiner Ansicht nach noch dämlicher, nicht in ihrem Aussehen, sondern in ihrem Verhalten. Warum wollen die immer die Weltherrschaft mit unfairen Mitteln erreichen und lernen nie aus ihren Fehlern? Wenn ich solche Technologien zur Verfügung hätte, wüßte ich schon legale Wege, um damit ordentlich Schotter zu machen (gerade im Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten) und so doch noch die Welt ein Stück zu kontrollieren (Microsoft macht doch auch nichts Anderes…). Nebenbei kann man dann auch die Superhelden eben wegen ihren Strumpfhosen an den Pranger stellen (gerade im Land der unbegrenzten Prüdigkeit).


… sind wirklich klasse. In einer Al-Bundy-Folge gab es einen Jungen, der nur mit Frauen reden konnte, wenn er seinen Katzenkopf aufhatte. Oder der Ben-Stiller-Film “Mystery Men”, wo einer der Möchtegern-Helden seine außergewöhnlichen Fähigkeiten in etwa so beschrieb: ‘Wenn ich die Augen zumache, dann kann ich niemanden sehen, der mich sieht. Ich bin daher unsichtbar.’


… über Superhelden spielen in Deutschland traditionell wenig Geld ein (mit Ausnahme von Spiderman). Warum? Man weiß eh vorher, wer gewinnt und ärgert sich über all die dämlichen Weltherrschaftspläne der Bösen, die der Held später quasi mit einem Fingerschnippen zu nichte macht. Da fragt man sich: Wozu dann der ganze Aufwand, wenn eh Nichts passiert?

Interessante Fragen über Superhelden

Wer macht eigentlich die Häuser sauber, die Spiderman mit seinen Netzen vollschießt?
Was ist mit dem staatlichen Gewaltmonopol? Schließlich verüben Superhelden Selbstjustiz.
Warum werden Menschen zu Bösewichtern, weil sie der Held nicht beschützen konnte?

Jens Heymann

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strange picture resizing when you have a high-DPI display

At the moment I am working on a Dell Latitude D800 notebook which is equiped with one of those nifty 1080i widescreen displays. That means: 1920×1080 in a 15 inch TFT display.

I got the machine preconfigured – and noticed that the Internet Explorer resizes every picture – Firefox doesn’t:

You can clearly see the difference

So I searched and found the solution for the problem: It looks like someone set the DPI Settings in the Display Settings to 125% – which caused Internet Explorer to resize every picture by 25%… what a stupid behaviour…If I would like to let Windows resize anything it would be the font size… not the size of the pictures that cannot be resized without quality loss:

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hint no. 1

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hurray! iTunes 5 lost my podcast subscriptions…gnaarrr!!!

“Cool a new iTunes version!” I thought and downloaded it…but after the system restart and the first start-up of the new iTunes this came up:

“this iTunes library is damaged….”

And guess what: all my podcast subscriptions are gone. Damn! What the hell do you think you’re doing Apple?!

The “Update-Mania” on the Macs I am using is quite impressive: After a fresh Panther Installation you are forced to download more than 400 Megabyte of Updates…and at the moment around 200 Megabyte of Updates for a fresh installed Tiger…

Who is complaining about the 180 Megabytes of Windows XP!?!


benchmarking the storages: iSCSI Enterprise Target (+Software RAID0)

This time we got a Software RAID0 Volume with 2 drives which made a volume size of 976784130 sectors = 476945 Megabyte. This Volume is exported with the iSCSI Enterprise Target Software for Linux.

You may ask: Why only 2 drives this time? – The answer: The guy who did the setup of the linux machine did not know how to delete the RAID5 volume he created for the previous benchmark. So there where only 2 250 Gigabyte drives left…and yes: we sometimes have a subliminal feeling that we have to hurt him.

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 65399 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 1.08 ms): 67237 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 55854 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 54098.5 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 51692.8 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 54530.8 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 30086.6 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 29700.0 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 30895.6 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 13.61 ms
  • Minimum: 0.11 ms
  • Maximum: 26.78 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 15.70 ms
  • Minimum: 0.36 ms
  • Maximum: 41.20 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.22 ms
  • Minimum: 0.11 ms
  • Maximum: 21.31 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 7.31 ms
  • Minimum: 0.29 ms
  • Maximum: 26.66 ms

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benchmarking the storages: iSCSI Enterprise Target (+Software RAID5)

This time we got a Software RAID5 Volume with 3 drives which made a volume size of 976784130 sectors = 476945 Megabyte. This Volume is exported with the iSCSI Enterprise Target Software for Linux.

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 61384 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 1.15 ms): 67472 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 54294 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 51913.4 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 49738.2 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 63889.7 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 9080.2 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 6650.9 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 10129.3 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 13.47 ms
  • Minimum: 0.12 ms
  • Maximum: 28.65 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 38.82 ms
  • Minimum: 10.10 ms
  • Maximum: 108.19 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.09 ms
  • Minimum: 0.12 ms
  • Maximum: 19.58 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 14.42 ms
  • Minimum: 0.37 ms
  • Maximum: 75.51 ms

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benchmarking the storages: Promise VTrak m500i

After all strange things that we got to deal with using the Promise VTrak we made some benchmarks (which took about 10 hours each complete run).

So here are the results of the first test:

We made a Hardware RAID5 Volume with 5 drives which made a volume size of 1945310850 sectors = 949859 Megabyte.

Here are the results in all their beauty:

Interface-Transferrate with a blocksize of 128 sectors at 0.0 percent of the capacity:

sequential read rate medium (unthrottled): 43570 Kilobyte/s
sequential read rate Read-Ahead (Latency 1.62 ms): 39447 Kilobyte/s
repeatedly sequential read (“coretest”): 68155 Kilobyte/s

permanent transfer rate: (blocksize: 128 sectors):

  • Average: 44896.2 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 18416.7 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 45645.9 Kilobyte/s


  • Average: 29821.7 Kilobyte/s
  • Minimum: 12688.0 Kilobyte/s
  • Maximum: 30792.4 Kilobyte/s

access time read:

  • Average: 13.58 ms
  • Minimum: 4.13 ms
  • Maximum: 104.33 ms

access time write:

  • Average: 9.58 ms
  • Minimum: 0.48 ms
  • Maximum: 2930.85 ms

access time read (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 6.14 ms
  • Minimum: 0.48 ms
  • Maximum: 37.94 ms

access time write (<504 MByte):

  • Average: 3.74 ms
  • Minimum: 0.47 ms
  • Maximum: 1258.26 ms

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the evilgate structure, and 802.1X

I told you about the Linksys WRT54GS-DE router I’ve bought to put an OpenWRT on it. So what’s it all about? Why would I want to have such a firewall-detour-device. And whats a firewall-detour-device anyway?

So let’s take the following situation: You are in a network that allows you to access parts of the internet. Lets say you can access every TCP Ports 21,22,80,119,139,143 and everything above 1024 (list is incomplete!). And this network you are in blocks every UDP data transfer you would like to do. Unfortunately all the interesting things want to have UDP or at least some lower TCP ports. – What to do? That’s why you need the firewall-detour-device. It passes you unfiltered internet through the filtered network.

In our case it would look like that:

As you can see there are two ways to use the firewall-detour-device (the little linksys in the picture). By standard RJ45 ethernet and by 802.11g WLAN. The most interesting case is the WLAN-use-case. But lets’s start with the OpenVPN tunnel: The first thing you need is a machine that has unfiltered internet. You now determine on what ports you can connect through your firewall to that particular server. TCP port 80 for example…now take OpenVPN and with a few lines of configuration the server is set-up. (OpenVPN gives you the ability to connect through virtually every port either UDP or TCP – you even could tunnel through a HTTP/S proxy but that’s not a subject of this article)

The client-side has to be configured accordingly – which means installing OpenWRT on the Linksys and getting OpenVPN ipkg’ed…

The last question would be how you would secure your WLAN access to the firewall-detour-device. You have heard about WPA? In our case we implemented a 802.1X Authentication System: The authentication is done by a radius server which runs on the linksys. The client (the users notebook/desktop pc) has a certificate issued by the same CA that issued the access-points certifcate, with just some XP_EXTENSIONS in the certificate (additional OIDs). On the linksys additionally runs a daemon that changes the WPA key every 3600 seconds (configurable).

So at the end you have a certificate based authentication with a radius server combined with a WPA Implementation which changes the WPA keys in a configurable interval.

A typical OpenVPN config file looks like this:

dev tun
proto udp

# TLS parms
ca [ca-certificate-PEM-format]
cert [client-certificate-PEM-format]
key [client-key-PEM-format]
dh [diffie-hellmann file]

remote [the-OpenVPN-server]

There are some how-to manuals available at the OpenWRT homepage – so I do not copy-paste them here. But there are some misconceptions about the things you have to do on a Windows Client to use a 802.1X WLAN:

You need the root-certificate (the same you used at the accesspoint the only difference is that it has to be in the DER format) and you need a client certificate with XP-Extensions in PKCS#12 format. When you have both you just have to double-click to import them. When you now connect the the 802.1X WLAN you are asked to approve the root-certificate. After that you’re probably asked to choose which client-certificate you would like to use – select your client certificate and voilá. You should be connected to the WLAN authenticated with 802.1X.

Source 1: Linksys Router is now “evilgate”
Source 2: What is WPA?
Source 3: What is 802.1X?
Source 4:

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a lot storage space (not a Promise Storage Appliance)

So today it continues. After the dissappointing things that happened around the Promise VTrak m500i we started to put the other machines together to do some testing. Therefore we have:

Machine 1:

  • Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3 Ghz

  • 2 Gigabyte of RAM

  • onboard Promise(!) FastTrack 597 SATA

  • 4 Port Onboard SATA

  • 2×80 Gigabyte (Western Digital)

  • 3×250 Gigabyte (Western Digital)

  • 1xGigabit Ethernet (Broadcom)

  • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition

Test-Setup (Machine 2 is not in this picture…)

the drives and behind the fans…LOUD!

a hot-swap fan and SATA cable close-up shot…

Machine 2:

  • Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3 Ghz

  • 2 Gigabyte of RAM

  • 2xPromise(!) FastTrack S150 TX4 SATA

  • 7×250 Gigabyte (Western Digital)

  • 1xGigabit Ethernet (Intel)

  • Linux 2.6.something

Machine 2 on top of Machine 1…

Machine 1 is destined to be the Documentation-Server running a Sharepoint Portal Server 2003. But we’ll do some testing with String Bean WinTarget 2.0 iSCSI Target Software. On Machine 2 the iSCSI Enterprise Target will provide access via iSCSI.

Our testing would be this: We setup a RAID5 on each machine and export this 500 Gigabyte Volume as an iSCSI Target Volume. We then benchmark this volume. After that we do this again with a RAID0 across the 3 drives. (so 750 Gigabyte Volume).

At the moment we only test with Windows on the client-side. We’re using h2benchw for this purpose.

Stay tuned for the results. Oh I almost forgot: The Promise VTrak m500i successfully synched a 1 Terabyte iSCSI Volume and I was able to mount and format this volume. The first test showed that about 66 Megabyte/s are possible on this RAID5 volume. The benchmark is running since about 2 hours – would take 6 more hours to complete. Of course we’ll also will test a stripe on the VTrak m500i.

Source 1: FastTrack S150 TX4 SATA
Source 2: String Bean WinTarget
Source 3: iSCSI Enterprise Target
Source 4: h2benchw

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Quake 3 for Xbox is there…

It’s not that long ago that ID Software released the sourcecode of Quake III: Arena. Since the release many people worked on the sourcecode and one particular man did a very good job by porting Quake III to the Xbox:

Source 1: Carcharius’ Blog
Source 2: The Quake III: Arena sourcecode

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Promise VTrak M500i Review and News…

I wrote a short article about the lately arrived Promise m500i Storage Array and it’s not-functioning.

After we had to wait the complete weekend it was time to call the technical support again and ask for purification…well sort of :-).

The good news: The guy remembered that he talked to me. He even remembered what we talked about. That’s really not common sense when it comes to technical support. So this is a thumb-up for the support.

He sort of apologized for mistakenly kidding me on friday…but don’t be vengeful.

So he told me that there is a BETA firmware for our brand new m500i that is supposed to fix all the problems we have (at least the ones he remembered). The only thing that he needs from me beforehand was a signing under a disclaimer he would send me. Sure! Show me the disclaimer and I’ll tell you if I would sign it.

And he showed me:

Supplier is providing this Beta version Product to Customer without charge and at Customer’s specific request. Customer understands and acknowledges that this Beta version Product has not been fully tested by Supplier. This Product is provided to Customer “as is” and with Customer assuming all risk of use of the Product.

Except where prohibited by law, Supplier DISCLAIMS any and all warranties, express or implied, by statute or otherwise, regarding the Products including,without limitation, any warranties for fitness for any purpose, quality, merchantability, non-infringement, or otherwise, and any warranties arising out of a course of dealing, trade usage, or trade practice. Supplier makes no warranty or representation concerning the suitability of any Product for use with any other item. Customer assumes full responsibility for selecting Products and for ensuring that the Products selected are compatible and appropriate for use with other goods with which they will be used. Customer assumes and accepts all risk associated with procuring and using a Beta version product.

Supplier DOES NOT WARRANT that this Product is free from errors or that it will interface without any problems with purchaser’s components or computer system. It is the responsibility of the purchaser or end-user to back up its computer or otherwise save important data before installing any Product and to continue to back-up its important data regularly.

Supplier shall not be liable for the cost of procuring substitute goods or services, lost profits, unrealized savings, equipment damage, or for any other general, special, consequential, indirect, incidental, orpunitive damages, whether in contract, tort, or otherwise, notwithstanding the failure of the essential purpose of the foregoing remedy and notwithstanding that Supplier has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Date___________ Signed ___________________

The text formatting was not made by me – it’s the original formatting of the disclaimer. Of course I told the technical-support guy that I am not willing to sign this disclaimer. To loose the software warranty in any way is not what I would consider an alternative for a brand-new 6000 Euro device.

He understood my consideration about that issue – even though he tried to convince me to sign it. I didn’t. He then wanted to call me back after he checked the alternatives with his … whoever he was talking to… he called back 10 minutes later.

The alternative would be to deal with the bugs. He even seemed to know now and finally why the array does not sync successfully: I tried to make a 3 Terabyte Logical Drive. With my firmware version the m500i only supports a maximum size of 2 Terabyte per Logical Drive. Okay that’s at least some kind of solution. So I configured a 1 Terabyte Logical Drive for testing and voil


Implement Interface

If you have to use often contracts in Microsoft Communication Foundation aka Indigo, sometimes you become really bored by implementing all the interfaces. Visual Studio 2005 helps you saving a lot of time by choosing the interface your class inherits from. Using the Implement Interface menu item you will get all the methods required by the interface.

Source: aheil Blog

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create your own iSCSI Target (with Linux…)

You don’t know what an iSCSI Target is? Well simply an iSCSI Target is the “device” that represents a logical disk volume on an iSCSI Server. If you don’t know what iSCSI is – please read here and come back.

So let’s take the case that you would like to make a harddisk volume available across the network. The best block oriented protocol that you could use (and the best sounding…BUZZWOOOOOOORD!) is iSCSI. So there are some commercial iSCSI Implementations for Windows and there are some iSCSI Implementations for Linux. Today cosrahn implemented a solution based on the Linux iSCSI Enterprise Target Project.

This article will give you a list of things you have to do to get it to work by yourself:

You would need:

  1. a linux server with a kernel version 2.6.11 or later

  2. a free disk volume/partition/block device (even a file)

  3. a direct network connection to the machine that would like to use the iSCSI Target

    1. alternatively you have a iSCSI enabled network switch…quite expensive…

  4. a linux or windows machine that has an iSCSI Initiator installed

The iSCSI Initiator is the client part of the solution. It can either be software (like the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator) or hardware (like the Adaptec 7211C). In our case it’s a complete software solution.

Cosrahn installed a Gentoo Linux with a kernel. That took the most of the setup-time. Then he downloaded the source from the iSCSI Enterprise Target page and compiled and installed it.

Then he edited the config file in /etc/ietd.conf:

# iscsi target configuration

# the password NEEDs to be minimum 12 characters to be standard conform
IncomingUser username longpassword

# Targets definitions start with “Target” and the target name.
# The target name must be a globally unique name, the iSCSI
# standard defines the “iSCSI Qualified Name” as follows:
# iqn.yyyy-mm.[:identifier]
# “yyyy-mm” is the date at which the domain is valid and the identifier
# is freely selectable. For further details please check the iSCSI spec.


# Users, who can access this target
# (no users means anyone can access the target)

IncomingUser username specialtargetpassword

# Logical Unit definition
# You must define one logical unit at least.
# Block devices, regular files, LVM, and RAID can be offered
# to the initiators as a block device.
# in our case /dev/sda4 is a partition without any filesystem.

Lun 0 Path=/dev/sda4,Type=fileio

# Alias name for this target
Alias iSCSI-Test-Volume

# various iSCSI parameters
MaxConnections 1
InitialR2T Yes
ImmediateData Yes
MaxRecvDataSegmentLength 8192
MaxBurstLength 262144
FirstBurstLength 65536
DefaultTime2Wait 2
DefaultTime2Retain 20
MaxOutstandingR2T 8
DataPDUInOrder Yes
DataSequenceInOrder Yes
ErrorRecoveryLevel 0
#HeaderDigest CRC32C,None
#DataDigest CRC32C,None

After that we started the iSCSI Target daemon and configured the Windows Client to use the target.

This is the “startup-screen” of the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator.
You can see the node name of the iSCSI client.

This is the “iSCSI Server Discovery” Tab of the Initiator.
This is where you enter the “username” and the “longpassword”

Now there’s the Target Tab of the iSCSI Initiator. If you entered the Logon-Information to the iSCSI Server correctly you should see the target that are exported by the iSCSI Enterprise Target daemon. In our case there are two targets available.(despite the configuration above just exports one…just ignore it, you can create as much as you like)

You have the choice to let the iSCSI Initiator reconnect to the Target automatically on boot time and of course you have to authenticate yourself to the target. In this case it’s “username” and “specialtargetpassword”.

After you entered everything correctly the “inactive” flag would become a “connected” flag. Now fire up the Disk Management in the Computer Management MMC-SnapIn.

Voilá! You should now see a Disk with the size of the exported target…Just start using it like any other hard disk. Create a partition and a filesystem.

Simply as it could be. That’s it. There are some more options like the Header/Data digest – which is an option to ensure data integrity. While this surely will increase data security it also will increase the CPU usage when you access the iSCSI drive. In our test a 1.7 Ghz Pentium-M CPU had an utilization of about 35-40 percent whilst the iSCSI server only had about 7 percent. We think that the client has so much utilization because of the quite cheap network interface card (realtek…). In fact the utilization is quite massive if you enable Header/Data digest-

Source 1:
Source 2: iSCSI Enterprise Target
Source 3: Microsoft iSCSI Initiator
Source 4: Adaptec 7211C (iSCSI HBA Copper)

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what a great hoax…Playstation Portable Emulator

There are some unconfirmed rumors about an upcoming Playstation Portable Emulator… well the feature set looks impressive but unlikely.

Beta Version Feature List:

  • Stable PSP Firmware Emulation
  • +Laptop/Tablet PC Battery Support
  • +2.0 Web Browser Emulation
  • +Runs PBP Files(Homebrew)
  • +ISO Support(Not At Full Speed)
  • +WiFi Support
  • +Theme Setup
  • +Wallpaper Customisation
  • +MP3 and MPEG Support
  • +Full Screen Mode
  • +Reset,State Save and Power Off.
  • +Home Button Support(Includes Home Confirmation Screen)
  • +UMD Emulation(.umd files – new file type)*
  • +XBOX Version – (Limitations – No WiFi or ISO Support)
  • +Linux Version
  • +Windows And Mac Versions
  • +PSP Drive Emulation(PSP/GAME/ etc.)
  • +Extended 3D Rom Support
  • +New Project Name:PSPemu (Xbox: PSPemuX)

the beta release is yet to be confirmed.


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Software Update, new Design…

This week starts with some changes.

First you might have noticed the slightly different Design of this Weblog. Yeah I changed to a new Theme – originally designed by Jelle Druyts. Not only that it does look better in my opinion it also renders way faster than the old design.

Second change is that I’ve upgraded to the newest version of the software that runs this weblog.

I hope that this whole thing just works as expected – if you see anything that does not work as expected – please let me know.


What The Hack revisited: the teardown

there is the final movie of the last minutes at the What The Hack 2005:


the Promise VTrak M500i arrived: another 3 terabytes (soon?) to be available

Do you remember when I wrote about the brand-new Promise M500i iSCSI appliance? Yeah. They delivered it four days ago. And we’re nearly there getting it to work…but as usual: first things first!

This is the little bugger:

And that’s the whole rack:

So what happened:

We ordered the Promise M500i and 15 250 Gbyte drives:

Promise M-Class | Physical Drives Summary
PdId Model              CfgCapacity Location       OpStatus   ConfigStatus

1    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 1  OK         Dedicated Spare
2    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 2  OK         Unconfigured
3    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 3  OK         Unconfigured
4    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 4  OK         Unconfigured
5    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 5  OK         Unconfigured
6    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 6  OK         Unconfigured
7    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 7  OK         Unconfigured
8    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 8  OK         Unconfigured
9    HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 9  OK         Unconfigured
10   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 10 OK         Unconfigured
11   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 11 OK         Unconfigured
12   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 12 OK         Unconfigured
13   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 13 OK         Unconfigured
14   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 14 OK         Unconfigured
15   HDT722525DLA380    231.90GB    Encl 1 Slot 15 OK         Unconfigured

 Global Physical Drives Settings
 Return to Previous Menu

(that’s the serial console of the M500i)

Source 1:

And after getting the drives into the bays and the appliance we started configuring the device. As usual: one hot-spare and the rest for RAID50 (later we configured it for RAID5 only). The machine started the initialization/synching process…after several hours the 60 percent mark was reached…we let it ran the night and the next morning…”Synching: 20%” was on the screen…WTF?! we thought. Apparently no power failure occurred that night. The machine just restarted the sync-process…and as if this wasn’t bad enough it kept restarting the process on and on…

We reconfigured the device for RAID5 and started again…but after another day the same things happened: restart after restart…In fact there never was an error of any kind – neither in the logs nor in the activities display.

We even figured out another (maybe) bug of our M500i: When we unplugged it completely from the power the device forgot some of it’s settings (like the network configuration…). And the more serious bug: When I try to set the Management Network Interface to DHCP the whole administration consoles lock up completely. That means: no serial console or web interface until we rebooted the device (that behavior is reproducible).

And as this would not be enough the device booted with this text on the serial console:

IBL_ROM Ver 1.05.0000.00
Built 18:18:10, Jun  9 2005
Warning: Detected BAD NVRAM Signature
Engineering mode = Active
SDRAM Memory Size ...................... 256 MBytes
Initialize chipset for ECC(8) Memory ... Done
Initialize OS reserved memory .......... Done
Initialize Disk reserved memory ........ Failed
Platform Setup completed.
+fis load kernel
go 0x1008000
Load & Run:  IBL_RAM
DHCP Disabled
IP:, Gateway:
Default server:, DNS server IP:
IBL_RAM Ver 1.05.0000.00
Built 18:19:24, Jun  9 2005
VTrak M500i
Copyright 2005, Promise Technology, Inc.
== Executing boot script in 5.000 seconds - enter ^C to abort
IBL_RAM> fis load kernel
IBL_RAM> go 0x1008000
Loading software modules .......

Interesting isn’t it?

I called the technical support…but as usual it happened what seems to be common sense for technical support: No help at all. They told me that the M500i restarts the sync process probably because there are no iSCSI clients connected yet…I was told to add a client at least to give the M500i a chance to sync. (Actually this advice did not and does not make any sense at all…but I tried)

After this advice did not solve any problem (as expected by me) I again called the technical support. Nobody was there to talk to me in a language I understand so they offered me in english to call me back when there’s someone available. They called back half an hour later, told me something about a new firmware and that they (of course) never have heard of any problems like that with the M500i – and that they would have to ask the guys in the states if they are allowed to send me a new firmware (for a brand new device that does not work at all…). Another theory was that there might be a hardware error (this is my preferred theory)…but they would like to try the software update first…(the update would fix the DHCP problem hopefully). So they told me to call back at 1700 – and when I called back the answering machine told me that I call outside of business hours…

I really hope that this was a mistake and not intended…expect more “Stories of interest” when they will answer my desperate phone-call tries…

Source 1:
Source 2: solving data storage problems: How long can 3.5 Terabyte last?

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back on from the IPXServer test-machine…now the test summary

After a week of testing schrankmonster is back on it’s “old” server. I successfully finished the one-week-free-test which IPXServer offered me.

But first things first: At the moment I am planning to move this website (and some other) to a new and dedicated machine. Therefore I am looking for a hoster that has the best offer…and IPXServer seems to deliver the best price-performance ratio. So I asked for some more information about their products (actually their site is…crap) – and they offered me a one week test of a server of my choice.

Within 12 hours from my request they delivered the server with Windows Server 2003 Web Edition running on it. I received 5 eMails through IPXServers own pop3-mail-system (which every customer is forced to use to communicate with IPXServer) with the login informations and support informations. And after one hour this website was completely moved to the new server. (it took around 50 minutes to copy all the data)

Beside the Remote Desktop Client way to administrate the server a customer gets a web-driven administration area to perform all kinds of tasks with the server (like upgrading, passwords, recovery…)

I want to give a short overview of the administration area:

that’s the first page after the login

some information about the machine…

the configuration of the machine

there are some traffic statistics

you can configure traffic-limits and alarms

well…very limited remote possibilities

you can upgrade the hardware (ask the sales-team about the pricing!)

you can upgrade the software…see the “individual installation”… for about 25 Euros per 15 minutes they will install any OS you name and send in for you…

there’s a VERY SHORT FAQ section.

that’s the technical support-section…I preferred eMail support…

and you have some backup space…

To come to a conclusion: All testing went fine so far. The machine delivered the performance I expected – the network even delivered better performance than I expected (about 7 megabyte/s down-speed from that machine to my home machine). Additionally IPXServer delivers the best price-performance ratio. Considering the fact that the IPXServer eMail support normally responded in less than 2 hours to any eMail I sent them – there’s nothing bad I could say about IPXServer. I am sure that I will become a customer in the future: I really can recommend IPXServer so far.

Source: IPXServer

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