Archive for November, 2004

EPIC 2014 – The future of the internet

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

EPIC 2014

Well, I have heard this one via one or two podcasts, so I thought I would link it here aswell, as its damn good.

Imagine the decade ahead. What is the future of social software like blogs, podcasts. What is the future of digital media like music, movies, tv..   and what about News, reporting, commenting, linking.…      Right now software and web services are bringing these things together, we are rapidly customizing the content we recieve, more and more distilled, more and more tailored to our tastes..

A glimpse of the future…   the internet in 2014

WUS Server Tryout

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

–I never finished trying out WUS, its still installed on the server, but I didn’t get it work, and havn’t had time to get back to it! Please bear that in mind if you read or follow this article!–

–This article is not ‘finished’–

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Microsoft has released Windows Update Services Open Evaluation.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/wus/default.mspx

Registration will get you the 70mb setup.

Wus seems to be a completely different beast than SUS, reading though the features summery, it appears to have adressed practicly every major issue SUS had.

I thought I would give WUS a spin, see what its like, and I will blog my progress here. This post should not be regarded as a guide or walk though, though you may find it usefull nonetheless.

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SUS uses BITS 2.0 to download updates more efficiently. Before installing WUS you need to get the BITS 2.0 update. Windows Server 2003 requires a restart for this.

You will need an SQL database for the download metadata (not the actual updates), and for storing configuration information about WUS and about clients.

I have an unnused instance of SQL that I will be using, using the standard port.

Sql1

The WUS installation will create a database for in the instance, I dont have to manually edit the settings.

SUS requires at least 6gb of free disk space for content,but 30gb is recommended.

I like to see what I am installing, so I always extract the single-file executables microsoft produces. This also often exposes and MSI file, which is rather handy for software distribution, but not in this case.

Files1

Setup1

Setup2

Setup3

Setup4

Setup5

The final screen gives the option of launching the configuration screen.

Admin1

Lets have a look at what WUS has installed on IIS

Admin2

Notice the SelfUpdate virtual directory at the bottom? That will be important for later..

Under the options tab of the main menu, I can select settings for syncronisation.

Admin3

Here I hit the products that WUS will update, and I deselect anthing exept for Windows XP and Server 2003 family, as I dont run anything else in my little network.  I select a large number of new classifications, just to see what kinda stuff that is.

Admin4

I also change the default languages WUS downloads at the bottom om this screen, and confirm that only approved downloads will be downloaded to my server.

Admin5

I have chosen to install WUS on a non-standard port. The primary reason for this is security, and also you dont want SUS to install itself all over any website you might already be running on port 80 on the server. WUS clients will work just find using the nonstandard port of 8530, however, the self update functionality of Automatic Updates clients, an all versions of Windows Prior to XP SP2, need to selfupdate from a website on port 80.

Since we are running SUS on the nondefault port, we need to create a virtual directory on our default port 80 site, where to host the so called ‘update tree’, for Automatic Update clients to look for in order to self-update.

In this beta version of WUS, a script is provided especially for this.

For the beta release, you can perform all the steps in this section, “Step 2: Create folders in the file system of the WUS server” and the next section, “Step 3: Setup virtual directories in the Web site on port 80 of the WUS server” by running the following script:

cscript WUS install drive:program filesMicrosoft Windows Update ServicesSetupInstallSelfupdateOnPort80.vbs

If this script doesn’t work, and it didn’t in my case, you need to follow the manual steps in the deployment guide, but its no biggy. You need to create 2 virtual directories on your default port 80 website: SeflUpdate, and ClientWebService, see the deployment guide for details.

Final steps for the web server setup is DNS if you hadn’t sorted this yet. Both A records in your DNS server, and the proper host headers configured per IIS site.
I end up with http://fs_srv1.fluffshack.local:8530/wusadmin/ for my admin site, http://fs_srv1.fluffshack.local:8530 for the actual WUS update location, and http://static.fluffshack.local for my default website, whereunder the SelfUpdate virtual directories can be found.
I use Fully Qualified domain names here as best practice, but you dont have to.
(Note: http://static.fluffshack.local is a site that was already running on this server, you can find it publicly at http://static.jemimus.net .. of course the Selfupdate and ClientWebService virtual directories are under there, but all it needs are read and run script rights.)
I have defined a new OU in Active Directory to host the computer account, so I can apply a test policy to the computer.
The test policy will do 2 things: First it will make sure that any clients that fall under it, recieve the SUS Client component.
This software is needed for clients that are either Windows 2000 SP2 and lower, and Windows XP without SP1. Anything above that already has a version of Automatic Updates that will auto-update to a WUS version, apon first contact with the WUS server.

And that is what the group policy is for secondly, to apply the settings that will make Automatic Updates behave the way we want it to.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 clients, already have the version of the Automatic Updates client that WUS would otherwise install, and it support all the client-side settings natively.

In order to apply WUS client side settings via group policy, we also need to use a newer administrative template for Group policy, than the one that was installed by default with Windows Server 2003.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 computers already contain the updated ADM file, simply copy this file to the same location on your server, or the pc from which you edit the policy in MMC (or the Group Policy Management Console). The ADM files are always located on %systemroot%windowsinf

The file is called wuau.adm

When loading the new ADM file for the first time, and this may be true of any ADM files that come with Windows XP SP1 or SP2, you may recieve and error box that says the following:

The following entry in the [strings] section is too long and has been truncated.
This is simply the Group Policy editor not being able to deal with these newer ADM templates, this bug is known under KB 842933, and you can get the fix on that KB page also.
I set up the group policy object I have linked, with the SUS client MSI as assigned software, and I fill in the SUS/WUS options that I want to be enforced.

Laptop Update

Monday, November 29th, 2004

Well my laptop harddisk has really given up now.

The problems have been worsening over the past week, and now it will start ‘tapping’ sometimes, after its been on for a while. Also, it wont boot normally anymore, I have to press ESC during post, and manually select the hdd in the boot menu, and whenever I do that, it tells me that SMART has detected the hdd must be replaced.

I have been clearing all non-essential data off the laptop, and defragmented it. I tried running a checkdisk with recovery, but it fails at step 4, and exists with an unspecified error.

I am convinced its been overheating that has killed the hdd, as I had the laptop on in its bag a few times, so I could listen to podcasts.. this was before I had the new heardphones.

Anyway…   I got a phonecall on Vriday from Dynabyte, telling me I would be phoned this week when the replacement laptop had arrived at the shop.

A collegue of mine already had his replaced, but told me that he didn’’t get a new SD-Card reader/USB Stick with the new one. That really sucks, as I think the included card reader is really great… so I will ‘’forget’’ to pack it with my old laptop is see if they notice..

Old laptop:

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New Laptop:

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Wireless networking on larger scales

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Its starting to happen.

The Dutch magazine Computable is reporting that the “Stichting Wireless Leiden”, a dutch wireless advocacy group, is joining forces with other regional wireless groups to offer wifi access thoughout the province of Zuid Holland.

This would include an area covering cities like The Hauge, Delft, Leiden and perhaps also Rotterdam.

This is damn cool. I am convinced that the Netherlands is small enough to cover completely in wifi networks, and I forsee a furture marketshare war between these networks, and the services they will carry on them (VoIP, streaming content), and the classic mobile phone networks. As more and more phones are being equiped with Wifi, this market may explode in the next few years.

How to be an asshole to other passengers

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Oke.. here is a breakdown of what my daily morning and commute looks like.

6am, alarm goes, get up. Walk into living room (usually naked), turn on laptop. Get the shower going (takes a minute to warm up), laptop has awoken from hibernation (I rarely log on or off), start ipodder (or doppler, depending on stability of current build), shower, get dressed, gel, teeth, check status of podcasts.. quit ipodder if taking too long (you cant cancel individual feed downloads.. for fucks sake)..  take XDA out of cradle, remove 512mb sdcard, stick it in the laptop, media player start to sync it with my 2 customized playlists (podcasts and openpodcast), say hello to anyone online, , pack up laptop and adaptor, leave at precisely 6.45am to catch tram.

During 5 minute walk to tram, fiddle with XDA/Qtec headphones, refresh the mp3 list in GMPlayer, and start to listen.. usually to the Daily Source Code of the previous day. Usually queued up are In The trenches, techshorts, Usefull sounds (cause I love Nicole’s voice to wake me up), any IT conversations, any openpodcasts, Promiscious Bullet, .. usually in that order..but depends what has been downloaded.

Tram ride to The Haugue central station takes about 20 mins, walk to train downstairs, train leaves about about 7.16am.

(Noticed how I didnt have breakfast?)

In the train I walk all the way to the front of the train, cause there are like no people there, get myself a two-seater, which gives me the benifit of the little fold-out table in the back of the seat in front of me. Pull out the laptop, and switch my podcast listening to that, using a different earplog set.  I do this to conserve the battery power on my phone, as I can charge my laptop at work, but not the phone.

Trainride is about 40 mins..  passes two other stations, train gets progressively fuller every time it stops.

Now the trick is to discourage people from setting down next to you.. I hate being cramped in the train, and with this massivve fucking laptop out.. things get cramped fast. I kinda make room in the seat next to me, so I dont look like a complete fuck-head, but not enough room for someone to be encouraged to sit next to me.

This usually works, I would say 3 out of every 5 trips I get the double-seat to myself.

At Utrecht Central station I have about 15-20 minutes to spend before the next train leaves for Hilversum..  so I usualy spend it at the little cafe on the station, and order the best Cappochino in the whole world. They have Wifi covering the station (when its working), and I get online and do whatever.. while more podcasts download.. rss bandit refreshes, etc.

On Vriday I deliberatly miss my first train so I get to spend about 50 minutes in the cafe, and can relax and whatch the people go by, and chat or whatever… I always like my vridays kinda laid back, as work is usually kinda quiet too, so it all fits in.

Finish down my coffee and cram myself though the masses of people on the platform for my train.. this particular platform is like way.. way ..way to narrow for those few thousand people entering and disembarking this little train.

Now I have tried, on occasion, to pull out the laptop on this particilar train.. but its just impossible.. its way to crammed. As apposed to the frist train, which is a fast train, and thus of of a different type and roomier, the slow train (stop-train), gives no space whatsoever to even sit properly.. let alone get this laptop out.  So I resort to my phone again.

Phone stays on until I arrive at work, this includes the 10 minute walk after the train station. I arrive at work at 8:55.

At work I will usually stick on the phone when I do that backup run, as I have to walk all over the place and am bored to tears.

Return trip is more or less the same, but I dont get to spend any time at the cafe though. Nor would I want to, in the eveing its crammed with smoking people, and I hate that.

I leave at 17:35 precisely, to catch the 17:48 slow train to Utrech central again.  This train is occasionally late, which means i often miss the narrow 18:17 connection – the fast train back to The Hague central. I will often just miss this train anyway cause I have less that 3 minutes to catch it.. and with masses of people in the way, i dont always make it .

No time for wifi at the cafe, and the fast-train is usually filled with people, so not often enough room to pull out the laptop…  Usually by this time my phone runs outa juice too…