Thursday, January 29, 2009

Makezine Blog is excellent

I cannot remember where I first heard about Make the O'reilly backed magazine for tinkerers, but I was excited about subscribing. The magazine started off pretty amazing, but after a few issues I noticed way too many Knitting and sewing projects. It was to my great delight that they made a zine that was dedicated to those type of "crafty" projects that didn't appeal to me as making anything. Still the zine suffers from the challenges of all print media, no linking, video or other interactive content. I subscribe to the zine still, but I think the blog is much better; especially lately. They seem to have hit their stride and attracted several great minds to there group and are now showing amazing incremental projects that can help get bigger projects going. The articles about variable power supply design for a breadboard, and articles on how to protect power supplies are they type of bootstrapping articles that can help people with an interest in electronics, but aren't sure where to start get started.

They have articles about how to pick a microcontroller and even how to get started in circuit design, in all none of this has been covered in the zine, and I don't know that it would be worth printing or nearly as good printed. The richness of the content on the blog is available to anyone and that is the way I think it should be, but the quality of the blog is starting to make the zine feel a little like fluff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

After the recent "patch alarm" sounded by Microsoft I decided that I have had enough of so many machines on all different patch levels. As I have worked in IT for several years I was aware of WSUS and getting one setup in my current environment had long been a goal of mine that just kept getting put off. Having recently setup Sharepoint Services on an underutilized virtual server, I thought it would be a good fit for running WSUS as well. If you pay attention the first time you will notice that because Sharepoint disables the Default website, that WSUS services will be running on port 8530, and it even tells you that in the setup dialogue.

After the WSUS is setup, then you need to create a group policy that points users at your WSUS. I only created one and then manually moved machines to the correct groups after the fact, but you can get as fine grained and fancy as you like here specifying the group for users to join at the OU level. If your like me and couldn't use the default website be sure you include the port in your group policy, and know that when testing that if you gpupdate /force this change will require you to reboot, but won't require a reboot as it propagates naturally.

In any event, if you have been waiting to pull the trigger on WSUS for fear that the setup is complicated, or that you will see little benefit from the exercise, fear not. I achieved 87% compliance on the workstations in my environment with a single group policy and the number is probably higher, as I clean up machines that are no longer on the network in my Computers OU.

Facebook login trouble?

Any one else unable to login to Facebook today?

Update 2pm pst
Back up.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Qnap TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS is very nice

The blog eHome Upgrade posted about a toy that I would really like. The Qnap TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS is a pretty impressive all in one device for just about any need that you could want. The youtube video really lays them out nicely, but iSCSI target mode and web server with MySQL and python make it one revved up development platform/total storage solution for home and even small businesses.

The one "where to buy" that actually had this item listed had the empty chassis for $1,099 and the 6 X 1tb unit for $1,806-$2,114 (the cheaper one may be a typo as the description lists it as 3x1tb in one spot, but the title says 6x1tb so maybe call ahead).

Interface vendors contacting after the event

I recently went to the Interface 08 event held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center and in the month since I attended I have received more unsolicited calls from vendors than I did in the previous 11 months. Only 2 have specifically identified that they found me because of participation in the Interface event, but I have to assume that means others have access to that data too. Given that the event cost nothing, I suppose I should not be surprised by them selling your data, or making it available as it where; but I am surprised to be getting the calls.

The even was pretty nice and I did find a few items that I do plan on following up on in this fiscal, but I was frustrated to have cold calls for products that I didn't even have and interest in. I made it to every booth that had products or services that I was interested in, so feel free to not contact me.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Google Adsense SSL error

Does anyone else get this error every time they visit Google's Adsense? I believe I asked once before, but I never got any answers.

I have get it from multiple locations on different ISP's always on FireFox. I don't get it on IE 7. Any ideas?