GeekSquad Confession – Child Porn

Well I must admit I worked at Best Buy. I worked there when I was in college to make my way through paying for books, housing and general expenses. While working there you tend to see it all.. people mad that Best Buy won’t cover their broken PDA screen to people who surfed porn all day and complained that their computer was slow and there were too many pop-ups. There were also a few notable things that came up while working there.

While working there in 2004 a person came in with his daughter (who looked to be around 16-17ish) and handed one of my co-workers their digital camera. The camera seemed to be a very nice SLR camera. The customer claimed that the camera was not taking pictures very well and that the quality was less than standard. We powered the camera on and proceeded to take a few pictures. We switched the camera to view mode and started to look at our pictures we had taken.

To our utter shock and dismay (I actually felt a little sick) we found some rather disturbing pictures. We found pictures of a nice little bedroom with pink everything, a nice bed table and what looked to be a full-size bed with a woman (actually more of a girl) completely nude perched on top. I quickly looked away and, having caught a glimpse of this girls face, looked back at the man and girl. The girl was the girl standing right next to him. This was very VERY disturbing. Multiple pictures were on this sick individual’s memory card and my coworkers and I had no idea what to do.

My coworker and I took the camera to the general manager on duty and reported the issue. The general manager reviewed the obscene content and said that there was nothing they could do. I persisted: "Why can’t we call the police? There has to be something we can do!" and he acted very calmly and added that there was nothing Best Buy could do.

Of course, the girl seemed to be happy and perhaps she was old enough but the disturbing pillow laying next to the bed (which was bright pink) said "Daddy’s little girl" and almost made me lose my food. I still feel very weird about the incident that day and I wish there was more I could do about it.

There have been many shady happenings at the Best Buy GeekSquad. This is one of the most offensive things I experienced in the two years I worked there.

Please feel free to leave a comment and maybe suggest how my coworker and I could have handled this issue better… There’s some really sick people in the world.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

It’s been three years since the last Chronicles of Narnia titled "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" released. This year we’re going to see a new (second) film titled "Prince Caspian" due to release on May 15, 2008. The last movie topped over $291 million in the box offices and I believe that the new movie will top or beat the previously earned amount.

This is a somewhat neutral review of how the movie looks, what technically seems better in the new movie coming from a person who has not previously viewed "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" released in 2005.

Many advanced in CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) have been made since 2005 and it really shows in the new trailers. Just compare the old trailer to the new trailer. The sheer smoothness of all computer generated graphics in newer movies amazes me. Wikipedia provides a nice timeline of CGI in film and television.

Nevertheless, the second Narnia really catches my eye; the previews and trailers beg me to watch. I’m definitely going to see this movie. Sure, call me a girl, but I really want to see this movie for the special effects and cutting-edge computer generated imagery.

Trailer

Robo-Squirrel – Really?

Researchers have long wanted to study the behavior of critters and even humans. The study of animal behavior can prove to be very beneficial to humans and can provide insight to why we do the things we do.

Apparently researchers at the Free University of Brussels recently developed a robotic squirrel as outlined in this CNN article. I’m not quite sure what to think about this new "breakthrough". I can see that creating these robotic monitoring animals helps to provide a captive-free way to monitor their behavior but it seems a little ridiculous to me.

I look forward to the day when robotic technology has progressed to create a robo-human to monitor interactions in the general populous. This would be very interesting and perhaps provide greater insight into the human species.

How to Install VMware Beta 2.0

This article covers virturalization technology, obtaining VMware Beta 2.0, how to install VMware Beta 2.0, new key features and how to create your first virtual machine.

What’s Virtualization?

Virtualization technology enables you to run multiple virtual instances of a system within a single system or cluster of systems. The most popular and, in my opinion, the fastest-growing company to specialize in virtualization technology is VMware (VMW). VMware was founded in 1998 by Edouard Bugnion, Scott Devine, Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, and Edward Wang.

Our Lab

For our tests we used very common commodity hardware. We simply used a desktop PC running Microsoft Windows XP Pro on a Pentium(R) D 3.20GHz with 2GB DDR.

New Key Features

Some new notable key features in VMware Beta 2.0 are:

  • New web-interface. Yep, that’s right, no more VMware Server Console to manage your VM’s. While I see this to have multiple Pro’s and Con’s the web interface has seemingly grown on me.
  • The new web access interface also comes with independent virtual machine consoles. This allows you to have multiple separate windows to view your running virtual machines.
  • New (but old) methodology. The new VMware Beta uses the term "Datastores" to describe locations for data. This is very similar to its big brother VMware ESX Server.
  • VMware Beta now supports USB 2.0 – transfer files faster!

Obtaining VMware Beta 2.0

  1. Open www.vmware.com in a browser.
  2. Locate "Other Products" and hover over "Find a Product" and select "VMware Server"
    image 
  3. Locate the link that says "VMware Server 2.0" or click here.
  4. Click "Download Beta"
    image
  5. Fill out all information on the registration page or use the seemingly new feature at the top prompting you to enter your email if you have already registered for a VMware product.
  6. Agree to the EULA (End User License Agreement) by pressing "Accept" at the bottom.
  7. You are now presented with the download page (finally right?) Take special note of the serial numbers in red.
  8. Select the download link that best suits your operating system preference
    (If it’s Windows I won’t be mad 🙂 )

    Q: Wait! Where’s the VMware Console Download?
    A: We’ll cover that later in the article. Don’t worry!

Installing VMware Beta 2.0

  1. Locate the file you previously downloaded and execute the installer.
    This article covers installing VMware Server 2.0 on Windows XP Pro.
  2. You are first presented with a progress bar, and then the infamous installation wizard.
    image image
  3. Press "Yes" to verify the MD5 sum of the downloaded package.
  4. After some waiting and some random screens and progress bars you are now presented with the VMware installer. Press "Next" to begin the installation process.
  5. Accept the license agreement once again.
  6. Insert your serial number as noted on the download page.
  7. Specify an alternate folder (if desired) and press "Next"
  8. You are now presented with FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name), Server HTTP Port, and Server HTTPS Port options for your installation. I would simply leave the defaults unless one of the ports conflicts with another application/server on your system.Installation in progress
  9. Press Next
  10. Select the defaults for shortcut creation and press "Next"
  11. Press "Install" to start the installation.
    (Ahh the infamous progress bar we all have grown accustomed to. Your installation would have been faster with a WD Raptor 10,000 RPM drive!)
  12. Once the installation has completed press "Finish".
  13. Press "Yes" (after saving all important work of course!) to reboot your system.

 

Creating Your First VM

Creating your first virtual machine is easy! This section will outline the basic setup and installation of your virtual machine and guest OS.

I guess now is a good time to describe what it means when you read about "Guest" and "Host" Operating Systems. A Guest Operating System is an OS which runs inside of a virtualized environment. A Host Operating System is an OS which runs all virtual machines. The Host Operating System in our lab is our Windows XP Pro machine.

Follow these steps to get you on your way to your first virtualized experience:

  1. Press Start -> Programs -> VMware -> Web Access -> Web Access
  2. Accept any SSL warnings are VMware uses self-signed SSL certificates (Hey, they’re free!)
  3. You are now presented with a login dialog that looks like this:
    image
  4. Enter your computer login information (your username and password for your machine) and press Log In.
    After the initial screen loads you’re probably thinking "Woah, this is completely different!" and you couldn’t be more right. VMware is taking the whole web approach very seriously in this web-client.
  5. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you should see:
    image 
    (We, of course, have an existing VM already for testing purposes)
  6. Click image on the right to create a new VM.
  7. Configure the new VM
    1. Specify a name for the new VM
    2. Specify a location for the new VM (this standard datastore was created upon installation of VMware Server Beta.)
    3. Press Next
    4. Select your Guest Operating System.
      * Note: 64-bit support can only be enabled if your host system supports 64-bit technology.
    5. Press Next
    6. Specify the memory size. The recommended is usually acceptable when running VM’s in testing mode. For our Linux VM we’re sticking to 256MB.
    7. Select one processor unless you explicitly need two. Choosing two may cause more contention for available resources in more heavily-loaded systems.
    8. Press Next
    9. Press Next again to create a new virtual disk
    10. Specify the size of your disk.
      Use the virtual machine’s location for storing the disk.
    11. Press Next
    12. Press Next to add a network adaptor
    13. Choosing Bridged will allow the VM to have access to the same network as your host PC’s primary interface. This is a good choice for testing.
    14. Press Next
    15. Leave "Use a Physical Device" checked and press Next
    16. Uncheck "Connect at Power On" and press Next
    17. Click "Don’t Add a Floppy Drive"
    18. Click "Don’t Add a USB Controller"
    19. Press Finish to complete configuration/creation of the VM.

Installing your first guest

Installing your first guest operating system is easy. In the steps below we detail installing CentOS 4.6. The configuration of the actual guest is not important in this demonstration. Here’s how to install your first guest operating system:

  1. Obtain the ISO image file for your guest operating system.
  2. Open VMware Infrastructure Web Access
  3. Click once on the host system (your current machine host name) on the left.
  4. Click "Add Datastore" on the right to add our directory containing the installation media for our guest. You are now presented with the window shown here:
     image
  5. Type in a name for the datastore, we picked "ISOS"
  6. Type the directory path, we used "C:\ISOS"
  7. Click OK at the bottom to save your changes.
  8. Click once on the guest we created earlier on the left
  9. Click once on the CD drive icon image and click "EDIT"
  10. Click the ISO Image option and select "Browse…"
  11. Select the ISOS datastore and select the ISO containing your guest operating system installation media.
  12. Click OK then click OK again.
  13. Click the start arrow at the top to start your new guest image

Install your guest operating system as you would on a physical machine. Use the console tab to continue your installation.

 

Notes

  • The Beta or "experimental" version of VMware server can be a bit flaky in testing. I have often noticed times when a VM (which previously ran perfect under VMware server 1.0.x) sporadically died or quit responding.
  • The Beta or "experimental" version has been known to expire. I believe they fixed this with the latest beta release (at the time of this writing). The previous versions were expiring leaving the user unable to power on VM’s and ultimately having to reinstall.
  • The Beta version also runs every VM in a slower "Information Gathering" mode. This debugging mode greatly affects performance. It is recommended to disable each VM’s debugging mode under "Configure VM" on the Advanced tab. Simply unclick the "Record runtime information" check box.
  • The Beta version also has not been extensively tested with Virtual Infrastructure Client but some functionality works.

PayPerPost.com – An Internet Revolution

After hours and hours of research I thought to myself: Hmm, how can I make some extra cash by doing what I love doing, writing. I searched the vast depths of the Internet and noticed that there were not many easy to use and simple pay-per-post systems. I then stumbled upon a site called "PayPerPost.com".

We all like to make money with little to no effort. Why not choose a way that is most natural to you? If you really like writing about exciting topics (which I personally enjoy technical material) then you should really check out PayPerPost.com.

I signed up because I felt like the site had a user-friendly feel, it was very fast and usable and my blog was approved in less than ten minutes. This blog incentive program also inspires you to write more and have a seemingly unending source for new topics and ideas to post about.

So I bet you’re asking now… Why would I want to write all day and get paid? Well, you should know, gas prices are going up and this gives me a great way to learn about new technologies while improving my typing skills, saving me money and ultimately making me money while doing it. It’s a win-win situation for me.