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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Open www.vmware.com in a browser.
- Locate "Other Products" and hover over "Find a Product" and select "VMware Server"
- Locate the link that says "VMware Server 2.0" or click here.
- Click "Download Beta"
- 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.
- Agree to the EULA (End User License Agreement) by pressing "Accept" at the bottom.
- You are now presented with the download page (finally right?) Take special note of the serial numbers in red.
- 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
- Locate the file you previously downloaded and execute the installer.
This article covers installing VMware Server 2.0 on Windows XP Pro.
- You are first presented with a progress bar, and then the infamous installation wizard.
- Press "Yes" to verify the MD5 sum of the downloaded package.
- 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.
- Accept the license agreement once again.
- Insert your serial number as noted on the download page.
- Specify an alternate folder (if desired) and press "Next"
- 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.
- Press Next
- Select the defaults for shortcut creation and press "Next"
- 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!)
- Once the installation has completed press "Finish".
- 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:
- Press Start -> Programs -> VMware -> Web Access -> Web Access
- Accept any SSL warnings are VMware uses self-signed SSL certificates (Hey, they’re free!)
- You are now presented with a login dialog that looks like this:
- 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.
- Here’s a quick snapshot of what you should see:
(We, of course, have an existing VM already for testing purposes)
- Click on the right to create a new VM.
- Configure the new VM
- Specify a name for the new VM
- Specify a location for the new VM (this standard datastore was created upon installation of VMware Server Beta.)
- Press Next
- Select your Guest Operating System.
* Note: 64-bit support can only be enabled if your host system supports 64-bit technology.
- Press Next
- 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.
- Select one processor unless you explicitly need two. Choosing two may cause more contention for available resources in more heavily-loaded systems.
- Press Next
- Press Next again to create a new virtual disk
- Specify the size of your disk.
Use the virtual machine’s location for storing the disk.
- Press Next
- Press Next to add a network adaptor
- 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.
- Press Next
- Leave "Use a Physical Device" checked and press Next
- Uncheck "Connect at Power On" and press Next
- Click "Don’t Add a Floppy Drive"
- Click "Don’t Add a USB Controller"
- 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:
- Obtain the ISO image file for your guest operating system.
- Open VMware Infrastructure Web Access
- Click once on the host system (your current machine host name) on the left.
- 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:
- Type in a name for the datastore, we picked "ISOS"
- Type the directory path, we used "C:\ISOS"
- Click OK at the bottom to save your changes.
- Click once on the guest we created earlier on the left
- Click once on the CD drive icon and click "EDIT"
- Click the ISO Image option and select "Browse…"
- Select the ISOS datastore and select the ISO containing your guest operating system installation media.
- Click OK then click OK again.
- Click the start arrow at the top to start your new guest
Install your guest operating system as you would on a physical machine. Use the console tab to continue your installation.
- 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.
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.
The operation of the dial-in access is simple. You connect to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) via dial modem. When you dial in you connect to the ISP as another user on their network. You use their lines to connect to the internet. The maximum data rate is 56kbit/sec but is restricted by the FCC to only 53kbit/sec. There are virtually no distance limitations, wherever a clear voice can be heard on a phone line you can dial in. One advantage of this service is that it is versatile, widely available but the disadvantage is that it is very slow by today’s standards. This connection would suit someone doing occasional browsing and checking e-mail. The service cost is ~$9-20 dollars a month.
DSL is a technology used by many major phone companies to bring high speed internet to your home with the existing phone lines inside your home. The maximum data rate that can be achieved with DSL is 8mbits/sec with ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.) However, with VDSL (Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line) you can achieve up to 55mbits/sec. The main advantage of DSL is you can use your existing phone line at the same time you are on the internet. The disadvantage is that the speed is directly limited by distance from a central office. The type of user that would benefit from DSL is a person who wants high speed browsing, relatively fast downloads but who also is close to a central office. Approximate monthly costs range from $27.00 to $40.00.
Cable internet is very fast and stable. Basically the network is around most residential and business areas. The cable internet (e.g. Roadrunner®) infrastructure is already there – mostly fiber optics in this area. This allows for a massive amount of bandwidth to flow through the cable system. The maximum speed able to be obtained over cable is 10mbits/sec as determined by the cable modem and service providers. The main advantage is always on high speed internet. A major disadvantage, in areas where the network throughput overall is low, is slow speed because it is a shared network. The type of user that would benefit from this connection would be someone wanting to play online games with low ping times, and enjoy high speed downloads. The approximate monthly cost is $30-$50 depending on the provider.
Satellite-based Internet Access
Satellite internet is very interesting, I personally have used it and it is conceptually a very good idea but the latency of the satellite can bring the good idea to a screeching halt. When you connect you either use a dial up modem (receive only internet) where you dial to a separate ISP, then you send out a request via dialup then a tunnel is created to your satellite provider so your upstream can communicate with the provider so the received information can be beamed to your house from the satellite. This whole process takes up to 800 milli-seconds! This is very unacceptable for everyday browsing, but the advantages to some people make the service worth it. The main advantage is for users who have no access to higher speed internet. The downstream is about 512kbit/sec which isn’t too bad. (I’ve achieved 150-200kbyte/sec with it) but it is unacceptable for the ping times. The main disadvantage is the sheer space between the satellite and your home and the provider takes time to beam info back. The type of user who would benefit from this technology would be someone in the middle of nowhere. The cost of the service varies; usually you can lease the equipment for $99 dollars a month including service. Or you can buy the equipment for about $500-$600 dollars.
Here’s the command-by-command reference of how to forward TCP port 80 on the local host to a remote host (10.1.21.21) on TCP port 8080.
# iptables -F
# iptables -X
# iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -d 10.1.21.21 -p tcp –dport 80 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 8080
# iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d 10.1.21.21 -p tcp –dport 80 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 8080
# /etc/init.d/iptables save
# /etc/init.d/iptables restart
# chkconfig iptables on
Here’s how to hot port 5 on VLAN 1081 on a Cisco Catalyst 2950.
# config t
# interface fastethernet0/5
# switchport access vlan 1081
# switchport mode access
# no shut
# wr (writes configuration)
The main difference between ESX and regular VMware server is that ESX runs its own VMware kernel (loaded with GRUB) and allows for the virtualization technology to live closer to the hardware. VMFS, available in ESX, allows for larger files and offers higher performance over traditional file systems like EXT3. VMFS is tuned for large files and exhibits almost raw filesystem speed.
H.A – High Availablity
VMotion – Move live guest to different hosts in real-time
DRS – Distributed Resource Scheduler – allows for distributed resource management
VMFS – Large file support, provides near raw disk speeds
The ESX console is simply another virtual machine which has access to the VMKernel (through hostd process) and allows for management of the host. This console provides SNMP monitoring and all management functions for manipulating guests and the host configuration.
- Default of 56 ports per virtual switch. Maximum of 1016 (8 reserved for trunking)
- Three types of network connections.
- Service console port (should be bonded)
- VMkernel port – access to VMotion, iSCSI and NFS traffic traverses this port or portgroup
- Virtual machine port group – access to VM networks
- Creating Virtual Switches (Very simple)
- Console command "esxcfg-nics -l" lists all NICs available on the host machine
- Three methods of load distribution
VMKernel decides which physical NIC will carry the packet to the outside world. This method does not require special switch configuration. This method
- Source MAC-Based
VMKernel maps VM to physical adaptors based on the source MAC hash. This method has low overhead but might not effectively spread the load to all physical adapters.
VMKernel routes outbound and inbound traffic based on IP address. This requires VMKernel to inspect packets at Layer-3 and can introduce more CPU overhead and might not be the best option for high-throughput applications.
Sometimes it can be useful to clear the ESM logs in OpenManage if you do not have direct access to OMSA as a root user. To perform this action from the command line just enter the following:
omconfig system esmlog action=clear
The above command clears the ESM (hardware) logs in OpenManage. Sometimes this can clear amber lights on the front of the Dell servers.