Archive for October, 2004

My Favorite Podcasts – Good place to start!

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

This list is for Tejas, in responce to his post, but anyone may find it usefull.
Here is a list of my favorite podcasts, most are of higher-quality than others, but I find them all interesting! You need to, at the very least, listen to AdamCurry’s Daily Source Code.  Its has a high production value, and is leading the way for everyone else, almost  everyone in podcasting registers to his feed.

Adam Curry: The Daily Source Code
Highly produced daily podcast produced by Adam Curry (MTV vj turned entrepneur, and the developer of the podcasting concept). Show discusses podcasting and associated technologies, what Adam is up to in his daily life, he often mentions a lot of other podcast and often plays clips,  discusses interesting current news, and features music released under creative commons.

Trade Secrets Radio (David Winer and Adam Curry)
Trade Secrets are the recorded conversations between Adam Curry and Dave Winer, discussing new technology and their applications, and the work Adam and Dave do to promote it. Kinda like a brain storm session. Is released once or twice a week.

Evil Genius Chronicles (Dave Slusher)
Audio Blog. Released every few days, Dave Slusher dicusses current technology news and his focus has also been on podcasting, and how its being recieved in the IT community. Also features music (under creative commons license), and many other general subject interesting to geeks like ourselves.

IT Conversations (Doug Kaye)
Highly produces show with varied content. Doug Keye presents high quality interviews with the movers and shackers of IT, the Internet and the Blogosphere. Also featured are recorded presentations made at conferences and tradeshows.  Highly proffesional content and standard.  IT Conversations has been posting audio content for far longer than podcasting has been around. New content about twice a week. (very highly recommended!)

Morning Coffee Notes (Dave Winer)
Dave Winer’s (original developer of rss, and famous blogger) personal audio blog. Dave talks about subjects that interest him. New technology, IT news, and what he is up to. Released about once a week.

Engadget  (Lenn Pryor and Phillip Torrone.)
Its all about gadgets, its all about geekculture, its all about high-tech accesorising. The audio portion of their highly successfull gadget review website, if you dont follow this site, you are just SO behind 😉

Geek News Central (Todd Cochrane)
The Audio portion of his highly succesfull news site. Todd discusses current tech news, and his own tech going-ons.

In The Trenches (Kevin Devin)
The podcast for systems administrators. Kevin focusses on IT, relating specificly to issues that day-to-day system admins deal with. Still working on the format, but I enjoy it so far. (anyone)
Ben Tucker set up this cool server where anyone at all can submit an MP3 by email, and it will be automaticly added to the feed. Some people are using this as a feed service or advertisement service for their own show; like the Treo Podcast, The Podcasting- Tapdancing News (Halarious!), and Mark and Darrell Show Survival Guide. Content varies as much as the people that post.. and so does of course the quality of the shows. A show averages about 5 minutes, though the Treo podcast is usually longer.

Techshorts (Richard Whifall)
Brand new podcast by EA gamedesigner Richard Whifall. Focuses on gaming and features game reviews, but also talks about tech and the internet in general.

I have other podcasts listed, but they are only their cause I am trying them out. Not worth posting here.. yet.

Security: Linux vs Windows, administering Windows over telnet

Sunday, October 24th, 2004

This report just out by Nicholas Petreley takes a good hard look at both OS’s from a security standpoint, comparing design charateristics and the way vurlnerablilities en inherrent buildup of the OS influences the actual severity of exploits and how this is messured most effectivly.

Though the arcticle is clearly anti-MS biased, I found it a insighfull read and will be using its many facts and figures often. I must also say that I agree with every single critisism pointed at MS.

I have to this day, never touched Linux. But articles like this are really making me enthousiastic to get to know it. But coming from a MS background, the hurdle is gonna be pretty big, and I am not quite prepared yet to really delve into it at this time.

Another thing in the report that got me thinking again was the administrative requirements of Windows.  Now I have infact been thinking about this a lot for the past year or so..

I have a Pentium 3 800 that functions as my server. Its running all kinds of stuff: IIS6 with all kinds of web-based stuff like Sharepoint, some static pages, OWA, SUS, and Gallery running under PHP; SQL Server 2000, Sharepoint Portal Server, DNS for inside and outside, Its my DC running my internal domain, and of course its a massive Fileserver.

Now I am very very aware that running all this stuff on the same machine is a security nightmare, and it is. But until I have some money to start to build a serious machine that will do MS virtual server or VMWare ESX, and build instances on top of that… well I am gonna have to deal with my current setup.

But anyhow.. in order to manage it, I sit both at the console, or use RDP (remote desktop), which is esentially the same thing.  Now I have even used RDP on my Pocketpc over GPRS, which is of course rediculous considdering the bandwidth of gprs (or the lack thereoff), and the screen resolution of my XDA.

A few times I have basicly told my self: “Damn it all to hell, I should get my hands of a secure shell program for Windows, and use only command line from here on in!”

WHY on gods green earth would I be so masorchistic?!

Well the why is the easiest part:

-Its more secure. By Administering Windows only via command line, you restrict yourself to one and only one avenue of access. All you need is that telnet access, and it would be secured and encrypted to boot. By not using the GUI, you dont let yourself use the browser either, or run any office app on your server, or any other app for that matter, exept if you really need it! This decreases the area of attack considerably.

-Its less resource intensive. Think of all the resources a single logged on use on Windows eats up? Go have a look in terminal services manager, its crazy. Now Windows loads the gui by default, not much we could do there..  at least..  i think there are ways out there to deacticate lots of this stuff, you can at least kill explorer.exe.. but by not letting yourelf log on to the gui, you prevent all kinds of situations where apps that you are running in your user mode or context, could interfere with what the server is suppose to be doing.. serving.

-Its informative. By forcing yourself to do this, you wil learn a great deal about Windows and how to control it remotly. In the end I believe I will be more effecient in maintaining Windows Server by forcing myself to get down on how to administer it remotely.

-Its damn cool. Command line is cool. Simple as that. You are far more impressive with complicated command line running across your screen, Linux administrators are gods in my eyes.

Can it even be done?

Well, I havn’t really put any serious effort into researching this yes, but I have a fair idea what it would require.

First of all, I would need a deep and thourough knowledge of many many Windows command line tools and command, I would also need to include in this everything from all the resource kits, and plently of third-party tools.

I have in fact had some practice with running in non-admin mode, as I use the cool little makemeadmin.bat that Aaron made which gives me the admin command line mode.. I had to change IP config a lot for my laptop cause the different networks I hook my laptop into, so I delved into netsh for the first practicle time, and made a little batchfile.

Now Microsoft has since Server 2003 put a far larger emphasis on command line tools. This is most evident in their study material, take the 70-290 exam for instance. You are required to know how to do almost everything via the command line now, aswell as the GUI. Many people haven’t relized it, but this is a major shift in MS training methodoligy.

Microsoft also added 60 new command line tools to 2003, adding to an already impressive ammount.

I would also really need to learn how to script. Being dependant on command line means repetative typing tasks.. almost no way around it, so advanced batching and vbscript must be mastered.

Now apart from the command line, there is a pletora of non-gui ways to administer Windows, I mean every MMC console in existance, for instance.. plus plenty of other tools,  But there is no real chalenge to using them.. I use all that stuff already. Also.. you cant realisticly use them over the internet, exept via VPN.  (Yes, RPC over HTTP is an option..but would you trust it? Considdering Microsofts track record with their RPC and HTTP service, I wouldn’t).

Another way is WMI and ADSI, but that requires some scripting knowledge again to make effective use of.

Anyway…  this is at this point just an idea I am playing with, but is academic until I can start virtualizing my server, as I would always need an XP instance for doing my p2p downloading, and browsing when my other pc’s are not available (when I am out of the house for instance).

Ughm… *rubbs head*

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

Well the last week has been colorfull.

Started the new job at the media company, and feelings are still mixed.

First of all, the positive points.

This is a big operation. Its a very cool enviroment to work in. Round the corner of this office is the cotrol room for our national television channels, and upstairs are the newsrooms themsselves, that we had a walk though. When I go to lunch I see people I previously only new from TV. Yesterday I got the grand tour from one of the network guys. I visited all tv studio’s and radio studio’s aswell, very cool to see the live productions as they where happening. At one point I found myself walking across the studio of the Dutch version of Sesame Street

There are tons and tons of server and switch rooms here, and the main datacentre where all the hosting takes place is massive, and my all definitions the perfect datacentre, with all the high-end tech in place. Its also highly, highly secure.They have a huge datacenter here, biggest in the Netherlands after AIX, and they host a hell of a lot of bandwidth, the majority of which they use to move digital media content around between studio’s and production companies. They also host the SLAM for the city, that all the DSL providers use, and all teh cable stuff is hosted there aswell, aswell as arrays of dail-up banks. The company I work with also supplies the infrastructure for all the customers here, they are a tier-3 provider. They have stuff here that I only knew from websites..  equipment like Cisco 12000 series routers. They are currently building a storage centre to store future digital media (film stock), which will be 2 petabytes when live, and will extend to doezens in the future.
There are many many techs here. Loads of audio/visual specialists of course, and people with expertice in high-level routing, satalite comms, sginals, codecs, encryption, etc.

All in all.. a very stimulating enviroment to get to work in.

Unfortunatly.. the work in question is plain old second line desktop support.  Dragging pc’s around, installing applications, helping people with their little problems. Boring.. boring boring…     However.. I have already noticed that I seem to be more up to date than the guys here when it comes to new tech, and they will soon be migrating to Windows Server 2003/XP .. so I have a headstart in this.

I also see a lot of room for advancement.. they are very loosely organised.. so I can see myself climbing into a more sysadmin-like postion here after a while. In the meantime however, its pretty boring.

Another major downside is the travel time. Takes me two hours to get there.. that is 4 hours (or more) out of my day. Its completely tired me out so far, and I honestly dont know if I am gonna get used to it. I have to travel by train and tram as I have no drivers license.. cause I cant pay for it.. cause I am chronicly underpaid.

On top of that..  my laptops harddisk seems to have failed.. I have only had the thing one month!

Perhaps I was asking for it.. Cause I still dont have a headphone for my XDA, I have been using the laptop as my walkman to listen to podcasts.
Usually on my lap in the train, but sometimes in the bag, when there was no room. I think the heat might have killed it, or the controller.. as the laptop cant even see the HDD in the BIOS anymore. I am still waiting to here if where are gonna get new laptops, cause mine and others, where not new, but where probably used as display models.  Now this. Might be because it was already used..  who knows. I will be caling HP later this eveing when I get home.. but cause its vriday, I might have to wait till monday… damnit.

More messed up shit: I cant pay for my travel expenses. When you are traveling on public transport, you buy your own tickets, and then have then cashed in by the employer, and you get the money back.. after a month.    I have to dish out over 300 euro’s to buy a train ticket over here.. and as I am chronicly underpaid, I cant do that, I simply dont have the room financially, like i dont have room for a great many things.

Even more messed up shit: Been getting bills again for former lodger. Rather intimitating letters like “pay now, or we will take your stuff“ …  I tried mailing scans to him, but his mailbox was full. Its been 5 days and he still hasn’t returned my calls.. I will be paying him a visit this weekend, I already phoned the bailiff and gave them his adres, but its very annoying nontheless, its seriously destroying any friendship we had left. (The friendship with the lodger, not the bailiff, lol) Another bill I got cant really be pointed in his direction.. first I have to prove that he doesn’t live here anymore..  jees.

Been listening to more and more podcasts. Until this morning they where the perfect way to spend the time traveling. Now since its gotta take a while to find headphones for my xda, I thought I might get a cheapo mp3 player.. but are there even cheapo mp3′ with enough space for all those podcasts..  oh dear.

Show us your rack!

Friday, October 15th, 2004

Cool. Kevin over at Kevin’s Stuff featured me on his podcast.. twice!

I’ll be working on some feedback for the topics he shouted out. He was thinking about a catch-frase for the show, and he came up with “Show us your rack!” .. which I think is excellent!

I switched back to ipodder for my cast feeds, on account of Doppler not having any kind of history functionality… yet.
You see, I will listen to a cast, and then delete it strait out of Media Player. Ipodder keeps a little text file with url/names so it remembers what not to download anymore. Doppler will just go and download them all over again.

I sent Edwin a mail about this, and he replied very promptly with the news that this kind of stuff will soon be included in Doppler, in fact, on the site they are calling out for more beta-testers for the RC2, before they release it public.

Still using Sauce Reader. Last night version 1.9 was released, which makes the app dramaticly more friendly on the memory consumption side. Like now its idling at 2mb, whereas 1.8 would idle at 200mb

Monday I start out at the media company I have been quite looking forward too. I really wonder what kind of work they are gonna give me. They where a little vague about it, basicly discribing a kind of jack-of-all-trades, dealing in user-support as well as administration of their office backend. Of course I find the latter far more interesting, but we shall see.

Keeping Busy – Sauce reader woes, Doppler, podcasts, XDA

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

Been spending my free week online, just reading stuff, and now listening to podcasts.. uhm.. digital broadcasts… those.. incuded..mp3.. things..     lol

Quite a few people commenting and critisising the fact its called PODcasting.. IPODder… etc..  As you dont actually need an Apple IPod to do it..

Been having a lot of problems with Sauce Reader, my current RSS reader. Until about 2 weeks I was using Sharpreader, but its been ages since an update, it lacks features, it still doesn’t propery do digest auth on for instance Livejournal

But anyhow.. Sauce Reader isn’t perfect either.. even though the interface is pretty good, and its pretty jam-packed with features..evenincluding its own blogging tool, and its being updated prequently. However.. it EATS memory and CPU.. in a way that just isn’t healthy. And twice now it has somehow corrupted its own database of downloaded feed content, making half my feeds no longer update..  The only way I have been able to restore functionality is by re-adding those feeds..but with my feeds now round the 50 range.. that was quite a bit of work..

So I will be looking for another reader.. anyone got any suggestions?

Oke.. Podcasting.. Engadget has a nice new tutorial on how to get your podcast downloads set up on any other media device.. Pocketpc, Zen, Rio, whatever. check that out here

Erwin van Hunen released Doppler this morning, is an alternative for Ipodder for your podcast aggregation on the Windows platform. Been giving it a spin.. too early to really tell you what I think (is half hour too early? 😉  I already like the fact that I can import opml directly, saves me the bother of having to copy-paste feeds manually, I can just take the OPML that sauce reader creates and import it.. it will download any includes it finds amungs the many feeds.  I also really like the little popup it gives me when its downloaded someting. Its a bit buggy though.. chashes on some feeds.

Oke.. so now its a race with who can build the better podcast aggregator.  That is great and all.. but I would much rather like all the RSS aggregators update to support includes. I really want a single platform to manage feeds, I imagine perhaps a little blinking icon on a feed telling me its got an includde bit of content waiting for my approval to download.  We also desperatly need a management system for all these podcasts..  like and auto delete of old files or content expiration or something.

What we also need is commenting on  I mailed Adam and he replied that they where working on it, but that they where kinda swamped.. which I can imagine. On todays source code we heard an example of Steve Holden Tech Rag Tear Out where he declares who whillmost likely listen to his cast..  that is, at least at the present time, a goodway of quickly filtering.. however at that point.. you will already have downloaded the mp3.

Went shopping for a new headphone for my XDA .. and to no suprise of mine.. no one has it anymore. Even though I am pretty sure the headphone/handsfreeset for the XDAII and III will propbably work fine, no one seems to have the accesories for no headphone.  Looks like I will have to order it direct from O2, T-Mobile, Orange or whatever.

Oke more later…