How to sell a car

Mission accomplished. I successfully talked a co-worker, who needed to buy a new car, into buying a gadget-packed BMW 1 series.

He calls it his “cluster on 4 wheels” – because obviously there is some processing “horse-power” in this machine :-)

img_7539s

May he always have a safe ride!

Source 1: http://blog.ahzf.de/index.php/2009/09/21/mein-cluster-hat-vier-rader/

APC PowerChute Business Edition and VMware Server…

I’ve run into several problems while trying to install the current 8.1 version of the APC PowerChute Business Edition.

Basically I get this error message when I am trying to install it:

powerchute-novmware

So you can simply not install this version of PowerChute on this machine – OR you could go here and follow the link to the Download of the 8.0 version of the software. This will start the setup with this screen:

powerchute-novmware2

Great! Just get the “old” version and use it.

Source 1: APC PowerChute and VMWare

Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

So here we are on a new blog engine. It took me the better part of two days to do the Migration of 2,869 posts and 2,732 comments, a lot of pictures and movie files.

I will write an article on this but for now only two captures images from the migration:

php-xpath
yeah PHP rocks!

regex-magic 
had to do some regex action to do the url rewrites

maybe I should…

…switch this website to another weblog software in the future. The dasBlog development isn’t exactly what I would call fast-paced. It even seems that there was no movement at all for the last year at all regarding new features.

I took a short look at a current WordPress installation we did for our Developer Website at sones – and I have to admit that feature-wise this WordPress is way beyond anything I could achieve in dasBlog anytime soon.

sonesdev 

Additionally the fact that the skin of this site seems to be broken (especially for older browsers) I would have to do a skin-redesign – turns out that this is way easier in WordPress than it is in dasBlog.

In case of low performance: check your systems latency

I ran into some strange problems with a notebook that leaded to sound drop-outs or things like sluggish UI and HDD performance. So I tried almost everything troubleshootig the problem. That worked for some problems but there are occasions when I want to have a more systematic approach to those kinds of hardware / driver related problems.

One tool that can help to find hardware / driver problems is the DPC Latency Checker. This tool measures and displays the latency of your system. All you have to do is watch as the measurements scroll by and remove / disable one device after another from your machine. As soon as the latency turns green again there’s a high probability that the device you removed last has a problem of some kind.

dpclatency

On my machine everything is in the greens now – after some BIOS and driver updates. If your system has some issues you would see something like that:

cdrom 
(courtesy of Gnawgnu’s Realm)

Source 1: http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
Source 2: http://gnawgnu.blogspot.com/2009/01/dell-latitude-e6400-sound-problem-fixed.html

Useful tools: OnTopReplica

Normally I am using a notebook and a 24” Widescreen TFT as a Dual-Monitor solution. In fact I am mostly using the 24” TFT for work and the notebook 14” TFT for all the things that don’t need to be in focus right now like Instant Messengers.

Now in those few cases when a video needs to be played I want it on the main monitor but I want it to take as little of space as possible. And I want it On Top of everything else… maybe sometimes I even want to control it’s opacity a bit…

Now there’s this cool tool called “OnTopReplica” – It’s available for free on Codeplex and works out of the box without installation.

After you start it you’ll end with a small glas window where you can right-click to get a menu. You choose a Window which needs to be replaces – for example the YouTube Browser Window. After that you can even control which region of this Window should be displayed. You can resize, move and of course control the opacity of this window.

ontopreplica 

It’s also great for presentations because it allows you to simply resize any window you like. It will resize it and while it does that the window always is “live” – so everything you’re doing in the original window will be displayed in the replica.

ontopreplica2 

Source: http://ontopreplica.codeplex.com/

Up-Grayed

Last week I upgraded my iPod touch to an iPhone… well actually I got a new iPhone 3GS aside the iPod.

IMG_7392

It’s a fast device – even noticeably faster than the 2nd gen iPod Touch. It’s got almost the same battery life like the touch for me and it was a plug-and-play experience to use it the first time.

What I wasn’t expecting is that the smooth experience suddenly came to a stop when I tried to plug the iPhone into my car – just where the iPod touch did the job for about 5 months (including that the touch got charged by the car along the way).

With the iPhone I got two error messages simultaneously:

IMG_0010

“Charging not supported by this accessory”

IMG_0009

“This accessory is not supported by iPhone”

Damn you Apple! What’s the problem? There’s a standard USB port which powered 2,5 inch hard disk drives previously and the iPhone just states that it cannot be charged with this accessory (e.g. the car).

On the other hand everything else just works as it was working with the iPod. I can browse my music library on the iDrive I can listen to music – everything works, beside those two error messages and the not-charging iPhone. Thank you Apple B-) Maybe I need to up-grayed my car too?

massive parallel computing with FPGAs

Today we had a great meeting with SciEngines. These guys offer a great platform for everything that needs massive parallelism and IO bandwidth scalability. They even brought a small copacobana cluster to our headquater.

IMG_0045

IMG_0044

Source 1: http://www.sciengines.com
Source 2: http://www.sciengines.com/products/computers-and-clusters/copacobana-s3-1000.html

Killer .NET 4 feature: Memory Mapped files

“So what is it? A memory mapped file allows you to reserve a region of address space and commit physical storage to a region (hmmm, sounds like virtual memory, isn’t it?) but the main difference is that the physical storage comes from a file that is already on the disk instead of the memory manager. I will say that it has two main purposes:

  • It is ideal to access a data file on disk without performing file I/O operations and from buffering the file’s content. This works great when you deal with large data files.
  • You can use memory mapped files to allow multiple processes running on the same machine to share data with each other.“

OMG! You can even specifiy views on a memory mapped file… from different processes… .NET 4 FTW!

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/salvapatuel/archive/2009/06/08/working-with-memory-mapped-files-in-net-4.aspx

there goes another Dell Latitude D630

I always asked myself when this particular notebook will fail. Almost everybody I know who got this notebook got his mainboard replaced in the last year. Now it seems that it’s time for my Latitude to get a new set of chips.

It crashed while I was using it and since that it only boots up like this:

IMG_4432

Oh I looked up which graphic chip that actually is. It’s a NVidia NVS135 chip – not like I thought the NVS160 which is embedded in my current generation latitude. Thank god I got 3 year repair and replacement….