Monday, December 27, 2010

Crank Chiropractor and Crank Power Balance Bracelets

Back on 23rd December, 2010 I blogged about the ACCC finally forcing Power Balance Australia to remove false/misleading claims about any enhancements that their rubber band offers.  Now, I wonder if Matt Bateman - a chiropractor that went on air to state that he saw a 500% increase in the strength of his "patients" who wore this - will now retract this statement that all claimed enhancements of this product have been proved false and have been retracted by Power Balance Australia?


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, December 24, 2010

How To Install SBS 2011 With A Bootable USB Drive

Props to Tim Barrett for doing this so I didn't have to!  ;)


The Outspoken Wookie

SBS 2003 - SBS 2011 Migration

It seems that the Microsoft SBS team and TechNet have decided to give us an early FSMas present.  You'll find here that there's an SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 migration document that's been released.  No doubt there'll shortly be a) a doc for migrating from SBS 2008 to SBS 2008 R2 (oops, I meant SBS 2011) and b) the release of the Premium kit so we can once again run SBS 2011 virtualized...


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Power Wristbands A Crock

Now, as hard to believe as it is, a rubber band around your wrist doesn't help your strength, balance nor flexibility (but it does give a healthy increase to the bank balance of the company who were (up until recently) promoting this with false claims.

The ACCC has finally ordered Power Balance Australia to cease marketing its wristbands with any claims of enhancement - Choice spoke to Power Band Australia some time back, but only now have they been forced not only to take down the misleading claims, but to pay back anyone who feels they have been mislead by the totally baseless claims about these rubber bands.

Good to see some sanity creeping into the faux health product market!

(Update: This was just posted on the Gizmodo site.)


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Filthy Pedophile Supporting Pope

Every time I think that this dirty, filthy, pedophile supporting Pope gets as low as humanly possible, he keeps coming up with more amazing ways to show how low he can go.  Do I think there's any limit to how low of a human being this filthy old man can go?  I'm starting to believe that he's just going to keep digging at the roots of human decency until he brings us all (well, his Catholic church and likely also Christianity, at least - and as an Atheist, that most definitely doesn't include me) down to his level - and then he's just gonna keep digging.

The filthy old fucker has now blamed society for the Catholic church priests that buggered and otherwise molested small children in their care.  I mean FOR FUCK'S SAKE the church pretends to hold themselves higher than humankind as they are representing "god" to the world.  If this is what god is truly like, a child molesting bastard, then I'm most definitely glad that he doesn't exist.  All this continual debasement of the morals of the church shows is that they cannot be trusted - not even with our kids.  We know that they make up stories (such as god), but now not only are they ramming this drivel down our children's throats, they are ramming their penises in our children's orifices and blaming us for them being the filthy, low-life scum that they are.

Fuck off you filthy scum, and the church you represent.

(Edit: Sinead O'Connor rips the Pope a new arsehole, too.)


The Outspoken Wookie
In an utterly unexpected move, the US Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers.  An amazing call - the US Legal system makes a decision based more on human rights and common sense than on an overbearing political "need" to have free reign over everyone's personal lives.

The EFF blog post about this decision can be found here.

Let's hope this leads to a rash of sensible decisions to be made in the USA's courtrooms, especially around personal privacy and human rights.

The Outspoken Wookie

BPOS Botch

I received this notice from BPOS in my email this morning with the following information: "As a Microsoft Advisor Partner, we would like to inform you of a Service update that is being sent to BPOS – Standard customers today.  The attached email will go to all subscribers of the BPOS - S Suite as well as Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online."
Microsoft recently became aware that, due to a configuration issue, Offline Address Book information for Business Productivity Online Suite Standard customers could be inadvertently downloaded by other customers of the service, in a very specific circumstance. The issue was resolved within two hours of identification, and we completed a thorough review of processes to prevent this type of issue from occurring again. Our records indicate that a very small number of downloads actually occurred, and we are working with those few customers to remove the files.

This issue applied to Offline Address Book information only, and no other information was affected. The Offline Address Book contains an organization’s business contact information for employees. It does not contain Outlook personal contacts, email, documents or other types of information. For more information on the Offline Address Book please visit this link:

This issue affected only Business Productivity Online Suite–Standard customers; no other Microsoft Online Services were affected.

No action is required on your part. Because we take our responsibility to safeguard customer information very seriously we wanted to inform you of this issue.

Your organization has obtained Microsoft Online Services from a Microsoft partner. Please contact your partner if you have questions.

Microsoft Online Services


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fox News (sic) Strikes Again

Aahhh, the wonder of facts.  Who needs them?  It is clear that Fox News (sic) don't intend to report any - they'd rather report the controversy around the facts.  Have a read of this post to see what I mean.

What sort of News network worth their salt would let the facts stand in the way of a good right-wing controversy beat-up?


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unrestricted, Uncontrolled Internet Filtering

Just in case you weren't aware, Australia's not the only country that's looking at introducing Internet Filter-style legistlation to allow the government unregulated control over adding sites that the Government chooses to have added to an ISP-enforced blacklist.  The French Government just passed a bill to enable this unregulated Internet filtering.  So right now, the French Government can block any web site it so chooses to and there's no oversight, no control, no-one they need to answer to - does this sound like what Stephen Conroy dreams of as his "heaven on Earth", or what?  I'm imagining him sitting down, reading this information and having a little "self flagellation" time and finding it the best thing ever.

In reality, this is a very disturbing thing when it comes to human rights.  The government shouldn't, in a free society, have the right to block things they deem unfit without having this whole process be accountable to someone who actually understands the technology that's being filtered.  And usign "child pornography" as an excuse is totally unjustifiable - anyone who has had anything to do with blocking this sort of lowlife scum filth for any reason knows that child porn sites are hidden behind VPNs, secure access, encryption and other fences so that the general Internet user CANNOT stumble on them - if they could, the Feds could, and if the Feds could, the dirty, filthy scum that inhabit these sites would be in jail (unfortunately in solitary confinement) quicker than you'd know.

The Government (both the French and Australian, as well as other Governments around the world who are looking at China as an example of how to control your citizenry) are in need of a good bollocking for taking liberties with people's freedom.

As IgnoramusMaximus commented on this SlashDot story:

Governments are like nuclear power. If left unchecked they will kill a lot of people, screw up the neighborhood for generations and cause loss of standard of living for a lot other people. In the extreme, they can be used as a weapon and cause far more damage yet.

On the other hand, given enough containment and backup control systems, they can be the most powerful source of help in everyday life to a lot of people.

So where the challenge truly lies is in engineering such containment and control (see for example: the US Constitution) and then maintaining it. But when citizens willing to fight for their rights to the death are replaced with the likes of lardy American Idol fans, there is simply no one left to look after rusty, sieve-like containment vessels.

And so, unfortunately, most governments on the planet today are in various stages of performing their Chernobyl thing.

I don't think anyone could put it more succinctly than that!


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, December 16, 2010

US Republicans: 911 First Responders Can Stay Hurting

What happened on 9/11 in NYC was bad. We *ALL* know that. And what the first responders did was *AWESOME*. We all know that, too. Well, so I thought...

The US Government is trying to do the right thing - they are trying to allow the 9/11 First Responders to have access to health care.  It seems that the Republican Party think that allowing those people who put their lives on the line to save as many people from the WTC towers disaster to have access to health care (as in reimbursed costs if they are suffering a condition that was caused by their work during the attack) i ssomething that they don't want to support - and to prove this, EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS MEMBER voted against allowing these people access to health care.

That's downright disgusting.

And what's probably equally as bad is that Fox News is reporting this failure to pass legislation without mentioning that every Rep Congress member voted against it - how could the totally biased, right-wing, Fox network say anything bad about their beloved Republican Party, even if it *is* a fact?  :(


The Outspoken Wookie

Time: Has It Had Its Time?

It was reported that Time Magazine's Person of the Year, 2010 would be Julian Assange who had a significant lead in the online public polls, however it looks like Time has been swayed by either thoughts of US Government harassment or actual US Government coersion - we'll never know for sure and have instead promoted Mr I Don't Care About Your Privacy (aka Mark Zuckerberg) as this year's "Person".

So, Time has decided to promote invasion of and disregard for personal privacy over a journalist who facilitated the release of a lot of "down and dirty" US (and other) Government secrets to the public - this same public who not only vote for them, but who *fund* them.

Has Time Magazine had it's time?  Is it becoming just another muse of the US Government, like Sweden now is?


The Outspoken Wookie

Sweden: Once Neutral, Now America's Bitch

Sweden, once respected for being a neutral nation, has completely given that state of affairs away by becoming America's bitch: WikiLeaks reports that the Swedish government 'hid' anti-terror operations with America from Parliament.

Oh, well, they are truly showing their hand with how Julian Assange is being treated, and now this revelation just hammers the final nail into the coffin containing their neutrality!


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Forest, Trees And All That...

They say that the simple things in life are often the best.  (Well, I don't know that I'd call Liz Hurley "simple", but I think Warney's doing quite ok there...)

And sometimes you can't see the simple things for all the complexity that drives them.  I spent around 3 hours today trying to work out why a client couldn't access their Public Folders (SBS 2003) using Outlook 2003 on any machines and spent a bit of time checking PF permissions on the server, then looked at OWA that was working as expected and left them using OWA for their Shared Contacts (all that was in the PFs, luckily) until I could look at the system again tonight.

Well, I looked at everything I could find - including restoring from a backup - no change - and creating the Public Folders fresh - again, no change - and then when chatting to a colleague/mate online, I typed out the error message (the one I'd read so many times today) and it dawned on me: Outlook was set to "Work Offline".  FFS.

I was looking at the server because at least 2 machines were having the same issue.  Now, I don't know what would have changed (and this client doesn't "fiddle" on their server, thankfully) that set everyone to "Work Offline", but at least the fix has been found.

In the mean time, I learned a new tool - MFCMAPI from - which is quite interesting.  So, all wasn't lost (besides the fact that the client is good to go again in the morning).


The Outspoken Wookie

Sweden Completes Its Whoring Out To USA

We all know that the only reason that the Swedish prosecutors re-opened their criminal investigation into Julian Assange's alleged sexual assault after it was originally dismissed from lack of evidence is because the US Government forced them to do so.  Now the Swedish prosecutors are going to appeal the Bail on which Julian Assange has just been released (in England).

This goes to show that the Swedish Legal system has completely whored itself out to America.  I know a number of Swedish people and I'm *quite sure* they'd be disgusted with how willing their legal system has been to bend over and take it from America.  I know that there's quite a few Swedes who are feeling fairly dismayed with their own legal system taking it from the Americans and how their once legendary neutral status has been completely wiped away  by their country's willingness to be the submissive one in their relationship with America.

"Lick my boot, slave".


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department: Keep A Local Copy Of Tax Records

New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department issued a Revenue Alert today expressing their concern that they "are concerned that the use of cloud computing may mean businesses are not meeting their record keeping obligations under the Inland Revenue Acts".

This should be taken as a heads up, not just for our Kiwi brethren, but also for us - if we use a Cloud-based accounting system, are we keeping enough backups of this data such that we're complying with Australian Tax Law and ensuring we have the ability to provide our books for auditing should that become required?  That goes wherever the data is stored - what happens if the Cloud service provider is offline and we need to have our books audited?

The Outspoken Wookie

SBS 2011 Standard RTMs Today

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard released to manufacturing today. Software will be generally available in the coming weeks, with free trial software coming mid-January. Read the blog post for more info.


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Vatican Protects Child Abusers (Again)

In what's seemingly a never ending run of Ratzinger-related protection of Catholic priest pedophiles, WikiLeaks has released information about the Vatican refusing to support any investigation in Ireland of Catholic priest pedophiles.  Typical, isn't it?  Ratzinger values these filthy, scum-sucking pedophile priests more highly than the children's whose lives they have ruined.  Way to go Pope!  :(

This article was just published, and along with others about the same topic, brings into more light the darkness that's infesting the Catholic church under the leadership of their Pedophile Promoting Pope.  Ratzinger was the person involved in ensuring these filthy lowlives didn't get found out nor prosecuted before he became Pope, and now he's the leader of this mythical culture known as the Catholic Church, he's effectively enshrining pedophile priests into the culture of this church.

Apparently, priests are people in positions of respect and power.  I thought these people were supposed to be representing their god.  I didn't know that the Catholic/Christian god was a purveyor of vile acts upon children and a suppporter of those who perpetrate and support these acts.  I must have been mistaken.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, December 10, 2010

We Should All Be Disgusted At Canada

Asbestos kills.  Everyone with access to a television or newspaper or radio or especially the Internet over the past 20 or more years knows this.  Canada realises this, yet wants to open a new mine and ship their lethal asbestos to developing nations in Asia - where people don't have access to the same health and legal systems they do in developed nations such as Canada.

This is disgusting and is something that should make all people who read this feel sick (at least morally, if not physically).  Canada is clearly trading human lives for cash here - this is abhorrent.

Read more at ABC News.


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Internet's Voltaire Moment

Simon Phipps from ComputerWorldUK gives us some interesting food for thought in his latest blog post.  Now, I don't agree with him that WikiLeaks and The Pirate Bay are tarred with the same brush, nor that what WikiLeaks are doing is inherently wrong (I think we need some journalists somewhere who've got big enough balls to do what a lot of journalists did years ago - report what's ACTUALLY happening, not just what someone else reported), but I think that his points on how easily some Cloud providers terminated WikiLeaks' access is something that needs to be carefully weighed up when we're looking at hosting information in The Cloud.

If Amazon and Tableau software are so willing to remove access by WikiLeaks to their services, then we all need to have a long hard think about what would happen to our business if for some reason we had our access to our data blocked for a period of time.  I've already blogged here, here and here about Microsoft BPOS and Office 365 outages, here about the many times LiveMeeting is, well, not "Live" and here about Quicken Online going offline permanently (without any *real* way of converting your data to their new online offering), and there's a lot more well known instances of failed Cloud services causing major headaches for their paying clientele (such as when online backup vendor Carbonite lost the data for a large number of their clients).

Ultimately, if you lose access to your data because your Internet connection fails, there's generally always some other option - even if it means going home (or to the beach) to work.  This is one of the good sellign points of the Cloud.  But what happens if the hosting provider decides, for whatever reason, to limit access to your data.  What happens to your business then?


The Outspoken Wookie

Pop Quiz: What Won't Cap'n Bligh Sell?

Our soon-to-be-ex-Premier, Cap'n Bligh, has a laundry list of assets that Queenslanders once owned (or will soon be sold) and Queensland Motorways has now got a tick in the "Sold" box.  Cap'n Bligh sold it for AU$3b (the lower end of the estimated price she was lookin gfor when it was originally placed on the market) to Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) a Government owned Corporation.

Another example of a Government Owned Corporation is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation - and we all know how far down the gurgler that's gone this past decade or so, especially under John Howard's mismanagement of our country.

I'll say it here so everyone knows my feelings - don't be surprised if you drive into NSW for a few days and upon your return you see a big fence at the border with an "Excavation" sign on it and when you look through the fence, the top 3-4 meters of Queensland has been sold off to the highest bidder.

Cap'n Bligh's already sold off a 99 year lease on the Port of Brisbane for a measley $2.3b and will be aiming to do the same with the Abbot Point Coal Terminal - but for significantly less.

I wonder what Queensland will look like in 100 years?  Probably a lot less like Australia than it does now. Thanks Cap'n Bligh - now, at the next election, you can just FUCK RIGHT OFF!!!


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, December 06, 2010

Unmarked Mobile Speed Cameras

Just in case you've not seen these, here's a photo of two of the new unmarked mobile speed cameras that Cap'n Bligh has unleashed on Queenslanders to pay for her superannuation once she sells every piece of infrastructure off that we Queenslanders once owned.


The Outspoken Wookie

Journalism Or Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

Sometime religious fundamentalist conservative American reporters, politicians and voters literally scare the shit out of me.  And this is one of those exact times.  Just because some whack job makes some shit up and pushes it out to the media, well, that doesn't mean it is factual, verifiable nor even believable.


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Cloud - Should We Care

Should we care about the cloud?  We've been working in IT for wnhat, 5 years?  10 years?  20 years?  We know computers.  We know servers.  We know how to install, configure and troubleshoot Exchange Server in our sleep.  We can configure an SQL Server and a SharePoint Server together in less than 2 hours to get a site up and running.

Why should we bother with the Cloud - it's so new, so early in its life and so undefined that we'll be fine going along the way we have been for the next decade or so while the Cloud plays catchup.

Oh, really?

So, what exactly is the cloud?


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where do astronauts hang out?


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Love Janeane Garofalo Even More Now

Now, aside from the fact that I find Janeane Garofalo very attractive, she's an extremely intelligent person.  Big bonus points!  :)  She's definitely one of the few people willing to make a statement that she truly believes in and stand behind that statement with both facts and her reputation.

Now, until I saw this, I had a lot of respect for Janeane.  I now have even more: Janeane Garofalo on the Tea Party.  And Glenn Beck (the white supremecist, right-wing racist that he is) made me love her even more with this.


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cap'n Bligh's Popularity Sinks

Apparently Cap'n Bligh's government is reeling at the news that their popularity is at an all-time low.  Personally, I cannot understand how they find this news anything other than utterly expected.

Cap'n Bligh has been selling off Queensland's assets including Qld Rail, Port of Brisbane and pretty much anything else she could find a buyer for- luckily Qld Motorways couldn't find a buyer (after the total financial failure of the Clem 7 Tunnel project).

We've been waiting for a long time in Queensland for a decent opposition to arise and it looks like, even though this hasn't yet happened, the pitiful opposition that exists may finally have a chance of winning power.  John-Paul Langbroek, the current LNP leader, is still not the preferred LNP leader (according to recent polls), so he has to be very careful in the remaining time leading up to our next election in just over a year.

The current appalling polling of Cap'n Bligh's government has nothing at all to do with the federal government results in the recent election - she was losing popularity long before then and her government's poor performance did badly effect the last federal election for the Labor Party.

Out of interest, yes I willingly voted for Peter Beattie's Labor government in the past.  Anna Bligh's Labor government, however, is toxic for Queensland and there's no way I could vote for them.  Any Queenslander who doesn't want to see the entire State dug up and sold off to the highest bidder (whilst speed cameras replicate throughout Queensland like the rabbits that we're desperately trying to keep out) needs to have a long, hard look at what Cap'n Bligh's government has been doing to our State before casting their next vote.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Microsoft Removes Drive Extender

Eriq O. Neale alerted me this morning about 4AM that Microsoft, in yet another example of how shortsighted and mind-numbingly stupid they can be, have decided to pull their Drive Extender technology from all future products (SBS 2011 Essentials, Vail (the upcoming Home Server) and Windows Storage Server R2 Essentials).

Drive Extender definitely has merit - it allows the use of lighter hardware in locations where a full server isn't required (such as the products listed above), meaning that smaller clients and those using these products don't need the expense of full RAID setups where Drive Extender can provide the redundancy they need (obviously, given a proper backup and restore regime and a proper archival process).  What this decision is going to result in is higher costs for smaller businesses.  That's not a good thing!  :(


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why I "Pray" For The End Of Religion

I can understand why, until a century or so ago, people needed (as in felt the need, not *actually* needed) to believe in some form of bearded sky fairy to explain the unexplainable, however since then (actually, since before then) we've been getting a lot better at explaining natural phenomena that were previously in the realm of the "supernatural".

As we've been able to build on previous discoveries, theories and experiments to come up with better and better ones, we're getting further and further away from things that remain as yet unexplained.

The more we understand our environment and the universe in which we live, the less sense any form of "supernatural" being makes and the less "need" there is for one.

Oh, people will still believe - it is amazing the things that some people are willing to accept because someone once told them it was true - but there's no proof that the Christian god is more true than the Hindu gods, nor the Islamic god, nor the Taoism Immortals, nor the Sikh god, nor the Zoroastrian Creator, nor... You can see where I'm going with this.

There are hundreds of gods. Most people don't believe in most of these gods, and not everybody believes in your god (whomever that may be). The difference between us is that whilst, like you, I don't believe in any of these other gods, I also don't believe in yours - our lists are *almost* identical, it's just that I add one more god I don't believe in.

There's no proof any god exists, and there's no proof any "supernatural" beings of any sort whatsoever exist. With machines like the LHC, we're dispelling more and more of these myths as we gain more and more knowledge of our surroundings. I "pray" for the day when mankind will drop the facade that is religion and will stop hating on each other for reasons that don't exist.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Microsoft Marketing Finally Gets Something Right

As we all know, the Bill and Jerry series of adverts were able to achieve two things: 1. They proved how totally and utterly out of touch with reality Microsoft had become, and 2. They paid Jerry Seinfeld a lot of money to show how mouch of his shine he'd lost.  Oh, and they canned the series of adverts before they got to show them all.

Now, it seems that someone in at Microsoft's Marketing department got fired and replaced by someone who has a clue.  And whoever it was, THANKYOU.  Whoever is responsible for this advert - both in at Microsoft and whichever agency they contracted to do it - finally gets that tacky, ill-targeted, esoteric adverts are a waste of time if they are trying to generate positive results.

Have a look at and see if you agree with me - this has to be the best advert Microsoft has released in a long, long time, if ever.


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mr. Ballmer, Please Step Back. Step Away from the Vehicle.

Does this sound very much like what I've been saying for quite some time, or what?  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Future Directions Of Technology Seminars

Well, the first of these seminars was run in Brisbane on 1 November and received quite positive feedback from attendees.  The next two will be Monday (Alice Springs, 8 Nov) and Wednesday (Darwin, 10 Nov) then Cairns (15 Nov) and Mackay (16 Nov) and then we're finishing up in Toowoomba on Thursday 25th November.

More information about the seminars can be found at - the seminars are focussed at SMB owners and contain as little techno-brain-explode language as we've been able to whittle it down to.

We're also looking at catching up with local SMB IT folk in these regions so we can see what SMBiT Professionals can do to be of assistance to them.  There are a lot of SMBs in regional Australia and the SMB IT companies supporting them could find that membership of ANZ SMBiT Professionals could be of benefit.  The more regional members we have, the more regional services, meetings, seminars and training sessions we will be able to participate in - it also means that vendors will have much more easy contact with these regional members, making it easier for these members to form good relationships with a number of SMB-focussed vendors.

So, if you're in one of these regions or if you know someone in one of these regions who could benefit from these seminars, please have them look at the site and register on EventBrite.

The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Extremely Cool Mobile Applications

OK, so I've not used all of these myself (some because I don't have the appropriate hardware, some because I haven't yet tried the apps and some because they are *almost* available) but they all at least *sound* rather cool...

iRunXtream - running and heart rate monitor

(There's a number of these available for the iPhone and Android devices (at least).)

Stethoscope Expert 2011 - Use your iPhone as an electronic stethoscope and learn to interpret stethoscope sounds in minutes

Splashtop Remote for iPad - desktop PC remote control - kinda like the upcoming VMWare app, but here already and quite stable!  ;)

MobileNoter - OneNote access for your iPhone and iPad

Noterize - Digital note-taking done right

Office2 HD - Edit Google Docs and Microsoft Office (Word and Excel) documents on your iPad

Google app for iPad and Android for Googel Docs on the horizon and getting larger...

NASA App and NASA App HD - the first app I downloaded for my iPhone

Are there other seriously useful or serious cool apps you'd like to add to this list?  Let me know and I'll keep this list updated...


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is Microsoft dying?

Some people are calling this CNN Money article a simple measure of FUD.  Is it?

There's a lot of truth in there - consumers aren't "buying" Windows 7 - if they get new computers, they come with Windows 7, sure, but are they really forking out their cold, hard cash to upgrade machines that are running XP?  Not that I've seen.

Businesses are definitely buying Windows 7 - this is because so many business machines are still running Windows XP, an OS initially released in 2001 (that's 9 years ago, folks), due to the fact that F^HVista was a festering bucket of poop that no self-respecting IT provider would have deployed to the majority of their clients.  We're upgrading all of our clients from Windows XP to Windows 7 - we had a few "taster" Vista installs out there, but we never went past that and we even dropped a number back to XP to gain stability, functionality and speed.

Microsoft recently released their Kin mobility platform and then due to appalling sales, pulled it from the market only 48 days later.  Hopefully their Windows Phone 7 product gets better reception than that, however we need to recall that back in June 2008, I'd already called Microsoft out for treating their then ageing Windows Mobile platform like a redheaded stepchild and it has taken over 2 years from then for Microsoft to come up with Windows Phone 7.  Is it too little, too late?  I honestly hope not.  (Interestingly, there's little mention of the whole Kin failure on the Microsoft website, hence my link above to Wikipedia.)

Windows 7 on a multitouch tablet device - I dunno.  Windows 7 still needs grunt to drive it well.  It will work on an Atom, sure, but with Windows 7 and the weight of common applications such as Microsoft Office (Outlook and OneNote in particular) and Adobe Reader that people will run on a Windows 7 tablet, I honestly wonder what the experience will be like compared to an iPad.  With an iPad you absolutely do not expect it to run like a desktop nor laptop - it has a clearly different operating system (very similar to that of an iPhone) with applications designed to run in that lightweight environment.  A Windows 7 tablet, on the other hand, will run regular applications on a low-grade hardware platform and therefore look and feel like a sluggish desktop or laptop.  This is where I think that it will come unstuck.

We're looking at our mobility options here - the iPad has some clear wins, but so does Windows 7 on a tablet.  The clear lose for the Win7 tablet PC is that I can see us being bitterly disappointed with the performance for the reason mentioned above.  Sure, it will run that applications we need it to, but they will be slow and drain the battery life.  We need to look for alternate applications on the iPad and accept some differences, but then maybe this is a more acceptable option.  We're still undecided.

So, Windows 7 is selling to businesses who didn'ty buy Windows F^HVista, but isn't selling to existing consumers.  Microsoft Kin was stillborn.  Vista was stillborn.  Zune was stillborn.  Office 2010 is an excellent product, but most clients running Office 2007 already can't see clear benefit in upgrading - ESPECIALLY now that Microsoft has dropped all "Upgrade" SKUs and forced smaller clients to buy the full product again.  Windows Phone 7, years too late, is selling in the market like uranium-laced cookies (no-one's really going near it).  In Brisbane there were literally a handful of people waiting on launch day for the handsets - compare that to the iPhone when it was released.  Microsoft's providing all employees and paid Professional Developer's Conference (PDC10) attendees with a handset - at least that will get the numbers up.  Let's hope it helps get the platform off the ground.

And now they change focus for Silverlight to a Windows Phone development platform and put their weight behind HTML 5 as the cross-platform basis that Silverlight was originally meant to be!

And to top that off, Microsoft's lost their Chief Software Architect (Ray Ozzie) in a move hailed by most people as a massive "so what?" but the crazy thing is that Microsoft has decided not to replace him at all.  This is  once visionary technology company, now being run by a retail store accountant without any vision (but who oozes crazy like it is sweat) who fails to replace their relatively ineffective replacement for Bill Gates' Chief Software Architect role with someone with, I dunno, let's say "vision".  This is the one thing that truly makes me wonder about Microsoft's direction - not their failures (which shows that at least they are trying), but their lack of foresight in employing a visionary in their organization.  Groundbreaking developments and leadership by a technology company *CANNOT* be sustained with only an accountant at the helm of the ship.

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, October 29, 2010

Future Directions of Technology Seminar Series

Please click here for more information on the on this series of seminars that SMBiT Professionals Brisbane will be presenting throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory in November 2010. If you're a Small to Medium Business owner and want to learn more about The Cloud, Virtualization, Communications and Greening of IT, please register to attend one of these sessions as there will be some information that will be pertinent to your future use of technology. If you have other colleagues who may benefit from these seminars, please feel free to pass this email on to them and invite them along, too – the more the merrier!
These seminars are aimed at the Business Owner and others involved in the *use* of Information Technology in the business, not the *management* of the Information Technology – so there will be as little “baffling us with technogeek speak” as we can possibly have – we want to inform you of the technologies and what they can mean to your business, not scare you off with technoblahblahblah mumble, mumble, mumble.

Oh, and please ignore the scary photos – none of are as bad as those photos make us appear! OK, so, well, maybe we are! ;)


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Limited User Rights

Why (oh why) are applications that are being written in 2010 (currently it is Beta 2) unable to run as a Limited User?  This is an application, not a system-level utility.  It is a product that allows me to stream audiovisual content from a number of sources to a number of online and/or locl locations - there's **NO NEED** at all for the product to be written with such poor programming practice that it won't run as a Limited User.

As it stands right now, when run as a Limited User it requests the original MSI file (which of course was not supplied, only an .exe (and yes, of course, I can extract the MSI from the installer, but this makes no difference)), fails to read it as valid, therefore fails to re-install whatever it's looking for (both because it can't read the MSI file and also because as a **LIMITED USER** the program doesn't have Local Admin rights, then errors out claiming to have a "Fatal error during installation".  I was trying to run an already previously installed and activated product, not install it.

Due to this being a beta release, I'll be nice and not mention the name in this post so that the company developing the product can fix it without being named and shamed.  But if this issue exists at the release of the product, they will be named and shamed.

This is 2010 people, not 1990.  Secure, proper programming practice dictates that APPLICATIONS are written to the program folders and USER DATA is written to the data folders - and that regular applications DO NOT require local administrative rights to run.


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, October 25, 2010

Google: Do No Evil (But Stealing Passwords Is Fine)

There's been a bit of legal to-ing and fro-ing with Google's Street View fiasco - when the Internet giant was accused of enumerating open Wi-Fi routers and taking data from the networks these were on.  Google has previously said that no data was recorded, however the UK-based Daily Mail recently published that Google admitted "entire emails, web pages and even passwords were 'mistakenly collected' by antennae on its high-tech Street View cars".

"Google executive Alan Eustace issued a grovelling apology and said the company was 'mortified', adding: 'We're acutely aware that we failed badly.'"

Really?  Google's "Do no evil" mantra was clearly and blatantly ignored in this breach of public trust and security.  Scotland Yard is already looking into this case to see if Google actually broke the Law, not just the morals that they (at least used to) espouse.  Google needs to stand up and take the punishment for this activity - they were caught out badly and need to take it like the good corporate citizen they keep claiming to be.

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stephen Conroy is a Dictator

Stephen Conroy is a wannabe dictator and looks to start wielding power:


The Outspoken Wookie

Windows Phone 7 Launch

A friend of mine, Alan Burchill (Group Policy MVP) waited in line (alone for quite some time) this morning for the Telstra Store to open so he could buy a Windows Phone 7 device.  Ultimately by the time the store opened, there were a total of 6 (six) people queued for the opening and launch of Windows Phone 7.

Unfortunately, the Brisbane store didn't have any Windows Phone 7 handsets - maybe they didn't think they'd be popular enough to bother with for the launch day?  It seems they were right - a 6 person queue for the latest new thing from Microsoft - how the mighty have fallen (under the "leadership" of Steve Ballmer).


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

For the cloud, "We're all in" Oh, really?

Office 365 was recently announced - the replacement for BPOS in 2011.  Have a look at how prepared Microsoft is for this cloud product...

Oh, well...

The Outspoken Wookie

What I love about the music industry

This is one of my all-time favorite performances.  It was on RocKwiz, Episode 85 in January 2009.

When Adam Green was introduced, this was his performance of Morning after Midnight - how anyone can dance that out of time with the music and still sing well is beyond me!  :)

I had added and to my list of favorites some time back, now can also have its rightful place on this list.

(And now, for the Lego lovers out there (yes, you Dugie),


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ray Ozzie Quits Microsoft

Well Ray Ozzie - bought at the cost of Microsoft acquiring Groove Networks (and then refusing to develop the product past its Windows 3.1 feel) - who was the partial replacement for Bill Gates in the role of Chief Software Architect has announced he's leaving Microsoft.  Groove had potential, but it was never developed into a viable product.  Did Ozzie have the potential to replace Bill Gates in this role?  If he did, it was never realized in Microsoft.

So, that's half of the pidgeon pair gone - now we need to see Steve Ballmer step down and be replaced by someone who understands technology and who has the ability to steer the ship.  Right now, as I've said before, Ballmer is like the captain of a rudderless ship on a stormy ocean.  He's looking at Google and trying to replicate their efforts.  He's looking at Apple and trying to replicate their efforts.  He's scared about OpenOffice else he'd not have released the video damning it, so will he next follow OpenOffice?  He's directionless.

Oh, and they won't be replacing Ray Ozzie in the position of Chief Software Architect.  Does that feel like a sound way for a software technology company to go, or the deranged result of a retail store accountant totally out of his depth trying to save a few bucks running a company he has no clue about?

Here's more thoughts on the bashing, by the way.  Of course, the timing of this video, just after Oracle and The Document Foundation had a falling out, resulting in The Document Foundation forking the project into LibreOffice and Oracle having a massive (and maybe justifiable, I'm still undecided on that) dummy spit, is impeccable!


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wet Car - the saga continues

I was told that my car would be ready at 3pm today, so I dropped the rental back, caught a cab to Brisbane Collision Centre at Rocklea (cab voucher was supplied thanks to AAMI) and waited for 30 minutes after the 15:10 arrival time for my car to be ready.  Then when I got into my car, I couldn't get my left foot into the foot rest, so got them to actually re-seat the lining properly.  All good - I can handle that...

So then I drove away and noticed the seat getting warm - quite warm.  The seat heater was off, but the seat was still heating up to full power - not good.  Not for 4+ hours of driving this weekend, maybe 5+.  So I took it back and they didn't think it was much of an issue.


So, if they missed an obvious electrical fault like this - one where a light was on even though it was turned off, and the seat was heating up to full, what else did they miss?  I wasn't happy to drive the car away, not knowing for certain it was properly handled before it was returned to me.

A phone call to AAMI resulted in a cab voucher back to Hertz and another rental car until mine's looked at properly.  The guys at Brisbane Collision Centre still insist that that was the only fault - but as I said, if it was that obvious and they missed it, I'm simply not comfortable that the car is safe to drive.  They didn't look impressed - but I *was* polite yet firm.  We all know that's impressive for me!  :)

We'll see on Monday what happens - not that I'll be back in Brisbane before COB Monday to return the car, but that's not my problem - the seat heater switch will need to be ordered and fitted, which won't be finished Monday - and I'll want to ensure the car's been thoroughly inspected again before I take it away next time.

AAMI has been great.  Brisbane Collision Centre, well, I'm yet to make my mind up completely, but right now I'm pretty unimpressed with their thoroughness.


The Outspoken Wookie

Phishing eBanking Credentials Using Web-Proxies

This is a bit of a concern.  Have a read.  Interesting (in a bad way), eh?  :(

The filthy scum that live off people's inability to comprehend exactly what computers can do by creating phishing and malware and other bottom-dweller types of activities will keep coming up with new and more devious ways to relieve people of their bank balances.  It really does sicken me that I share oxygen with these types.

Microsoft offers some information on disabling .pac files in MSIE here.  But with all of the other browsers out there, and with the number of people who don't have any real clue who's sitting in the shadows, this won't stop this type of attack on the majority of victims.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Do you have crap Internet connectivity in Brisbane now?

Well, if you think your Internet connection couldn't get any shittier, have a read of this: A British company will roll out fibre optic broadband across Brisbane in a move designed to be a step ahead of the National Broadband Network (NBN).  The company, i3, has signed a deal with the Brisbane City Council for access to the sewer network for the cables.


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brisbane: Queensland's Marina

It's been a bit wet this past week.  Friday morning last week I found my car in a foot and a half of water.  It was sitting in the garage at the time.  Downstairs had 3-4 inches of water through almost all of it.

Today, this is the report:

and <-- a decent map showing rainfall

and has some photos of the region


The following roads are flood affected in the Greater Brisbane Area:

Acacia Ridge - Paradise Rd between Learoyd St and Beaudesert Rd.
Bald Hills - Old Gympie Road between Strathpine Rd South Pine Rd and Bunnings.
Bardon - Ithaca Creek at Bowman Pde.
Brendale - Kremzow Rd.
Brookfield - Boscombe Rd between Rafting Ground Rd & Brookfield.
Brookfield - Rafting Ground Rd is currently closed due to flooding and road damage.
Camp Mountain - Mt Nebo Rd between McCarthy’s Lookout and Camp Mountain Rd Lookout.
Carina - Fursden Rd.
Deagon - Henderson Rd.
Draper - Drapers Crossing.
Drewvale - Gowan Rd before Illaweena Rd.
Eagle Farm - Barcham St.
Joyner - Youngs Crossing Rd between Dayboro Rd and Protheroe Rd
Kallangur - Duffield Rd.
Kallangur - Goodfellows Rd.
Kallangur - Marsden Rd.
Kallangur - Nellies Lane and Brickworks Rd,.
Lansbury Ave, Ashgrove.
Lawnton - Nelson Rd.
Mt Cootha - Gap Creek Rd before Brisbane Forest.
Murarrie - Murarrie Rd (truck access only).
Nathan - University Rd and Don Young Rd.
New Cleveland Rd and Chelsea Rd, Gumdale.
Ransome - Molle Rd.
Rochedale South - Rochedale Rd (rural area).
Rocklea - Marshall Road between Gilmour Rd and Granard Rd.
Sandgate - Second Ave and Flinders Pde.
Sheldon - Avalon Rd.
Strathpine - Bells Pocket Road between Shakespeare Rd and Lawnton Pocket Rd.
Sumner - Wacol Station Rd.
Thornlands - Abeya St and Boundary Rd.
Virginia - Saltash St between Rudley St and Telford St.
Wynnum West - Sandy Camp Rd.


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sintel, Released by the Blender Foundation

The latest film to be released by the Blender Foundation is a short film titled Sintel.  The film has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License and was created using Blender, an Open Source content creation suite under the GNU GPL.

Elephants Dream was the first Blender open movie released (under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License).  The next was Big Buck Bunny which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Blender's definitely an amazing piece of open source software and these movies all help it improve.  Why not take some time and watch some or all of these videos - they are quite impressive when you think that they were produced on a budget an order or two of magnitude less than Hollywood uses for an animated movie!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reset Password in Windows Server 2008 (RTM and R2) and Windows 7

OK, time to fess up here.  I screwed up, so needed to find out how to do this for a machine we set up some time back that has been sitting idle - I was *sure* I recorded the authentication details in the OneNote build documentation for this client, but for the life of me, I can't find it.  Now I need to finish the install and, well, that's a little difficult without logon details...

So, I Googled and found these instructions that I've added to a bit (net group) and added some handy screen captures as well:

1. Boot from DVD or USB media - this media can be Windows Server 2008 RTM, 2008 R2, SBS 2008 or even Windows 7.

2. Change the language to English (Australia) if you want - but we're not installing anything, so it really doesn't matter right now

3. Click on the "Repair your computer" link

4. Choose the OS instance that you wish to reset the Administrator (or other Administrative) password for, taking note of the drive letter that was chosen for it (normally D:)

5. Choose "Command Prompt"

6. Change to the Windows\System32 directory of this OS instance and move the Utilman.exe file to a  backup, then copy cmd.exe to Utilman.exe

7. Remove the USB Key, reboot into the Windows install you need to change the password for and when at the Login prompt, hit Windows+U

8. Type 'net group "Domain Users"' to see a list of all the domain users on this system (Domain Controllers only)

9. Type 'net group "Domain Admins"' to see which administrative accounts exist on the system (Domain Controllers only) then type 'net user Administrator Select_a_decent_passphrase' to change the password of the Administrator account

10. Log in using the new password.  Immediately go and change this password to a nice, secure passphrase.

11. Reboot with the DVD/USB boot media and copy the backed up Utilman.exe.bak file to Utilman.exe to make sure we don't leave this hole open for now.  And that's it!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Microsoft Support

I was trying to get the hotfix for KB982210 related to Hyper-V VSS issues...

The picture says it all...


The Outspoken Wookie

The system could not access your credential management server

On HP desktop and workstation computers that don't use biometric logins, I normally uninstall all of the HP ProtectTools stuff.  Well, I used to up to and including Vista and for some reason stupidly thought that maybe in Windows 7, HP had got their software working properly.  Apparently, this assumption was incorrect.

The main issue that I've seen in the past is that the HP ProtectTools suite seems to bork occasionally which then results in the error message I named this blog entry after: "The system could not access your credential management server..." and also occasionally the following error message: "The server is not responding properly. Verify that the Credential Manager server is properly installed on the target server."  There's then no way you can log in to this system - either locally or onto the domain  Fun, fun!

Well, the fix (temporarily) is to disable the HP Credential Manager during login and long term is to uninstall the HP ProtectTools suite to leave the system able to work properly and reliably.

So, here's the drum:

1. At the login screen, click on the Log on with Wizard... link

2. Using the Logon Wizard, check the "Do not Log On to Credential Manager" option under the "More..." button

3. Log on using a Domain Administrator account (or a Local Administrator account)

4. In "Control Panel\Programs\Uninstall a program", click on "HP Protect Tools Security Manager Suite" and click Uninstall.  If prompted to uninstall various other Suite components first, please do so.  Reboot and you'll be able to log in normally again!


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, September 24, 2010

Commonwealth Games Conditions

The saddest thing to me is not that pictures like these are finally being seen by the public and the athletes, causing concern for the health and welfare of the athlests, their support staff and the spectators of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, but that construction skills and building standards are this appallingly low in India that despite the numerous public declarations by Indian officials that all is going as planned and that there will be no issues for the teams and their supporters, these Indian officials feel that this level of habitability is acceptable.

It shows the chasm that exists between the First and Third Worlds rather clearly.  What really needs to happen is that India needs to accept that they are in dire need of help in bringing acceptable building, health and living standards to their population.

Hopefully, the slums that were razed to make those attending the Commonwealth Games not be able to easily see the squalor don't result in people thinking that India doesn't have any slums anymore.

Hopefully the photos like those referenced here will help to reinforce to the rest of the world that we need to encourage and help India to raise its standards and help its population.


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Monsanto

Let me clearly say that I think that the work (at least in general) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is impressive.  What they are doing with education, health and promoting scientific and technological solutions to large scale human issues.

Now, having said that, it seems that there's a worm in this apple.  Monsanto, a company known for aggressively pursuing beyond the bounds of reasonableness its patents on its Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  Monsanto has bankrupted farmers who find Monsanto's GMO seed has blown onto their properties, and in Africa, they totally refused to compensate farmers who they convinced to use their GMOs instead of the regular crops by giving away free sachets of maize seeds, claiming they would produce better crops - these crops totally failed to produce any kernels at all.

According to the Gates Foundation Securities Filing, they now own US$21.11 million dollars of Monsanto shares (as at end of Calendar Year 30, June 2010), up from just over US$360,000 in CY ended 30 June, 2008 (as per, p69.

So, I wonder how the Gates Foundation who promotes health, education and escaping from poverty can reconcile owning US$21.1m of a company who aggressively pursues those farmers who suffer the misfortune of having their GMO seeds blow onto an unsuspecting farmer's land.  A company who doesn't care about the smaller farmer (as can be seen in this article.)

For more information on how aggressive and unreasonable Monsanto can be, spend 20 minutes having a listen to this information.

I think that an organization that promotes human rights has a moral and ethical responsibility to *not* invest in an organization that treats human rights with the disrespect and even disdain that a company like Monsanto does.  If the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cannot show where their investment in Monsanto is encouraging Monsanto to be a more reasonable company when it comes to protecting its patents at the expense of farmers' livelihoods, they need to sell these shares and invest in a more ethical company.

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, September 17, 2010

Boonah by iPhag

It really didn't look like this to my eyes, but the iPhag's camera turned a quick shot of the mixing console into this surreal looking photo...


The Outspoken Wookie

Pope and Hitler

It seems that not only does this Pope want to support and protect paedophiles instead of the children who he should be protecting, but he also wants to spread lies about Hitler.  Earlier this week in Britain, the Pope stated (thanks to Ben Goldacre):

“Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a ‘reductive vision of the person and his destiny’ (Caritas in Veritate, 29).”

Have a read of this article if you want to see how much of an Atheist Hitler truly was.  (Hint: He claimed to be a Christian doing the work of God.)

The Pope is trying to rewrite history.  He's going to fail.  He's a supporter of paedopholes.  He needs to be prosecuted as a paedophile supporter and have the paedophile clergy brought to justice, instead of hidden in the church.

There is no lower form of life than a paedophile and their supporters.

The Outspoken Wookie
Yesterday, I blogged about Geoffrey Robertson QC who is calling for the sacking of the Pope because of his support for the paedophiles that the Roman Catholic Church has been producing, supporting and hiding from the legal system for the past 3 decades that Ratzinger was responsible for in this filthy, low-life organization.

Well, if you want to hear what one of the world's most eloquent, intellectual people has to say on this matter (and Geoffrey Robertson QC is one of the world's leading human rights supporters), then have a read of the intro to The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse and then download the 35MB mp3 of the 76 minute lecture from here.

This is the overview of the lecture on the download page:

The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights AbuseSpeaker: Geoffrey Robertson
Chair: Dr Chaloka Beyani
This event was recorded on 8 September 2010 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre,
New Academic Building
The Case of the Pope delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that has shielded paedophile priests from criminal trial around the world. Is the Pope morally responsible or legally liable under domestic or international law for the negligence that has allowed so many terrible crimes to go unpunished? Should he and his seat of power, the Holy See, continue to enjoy an immunity that places them above the law? To what extent do Vatican dogmas conflict with human rights treatise, and why has the United Nations allowed this church – alone of religions and NGOs – a privileged platform to promote them? Geoffrey Robertson QC demonstrates a deep respect for the good works of Catholics and their church. But, he argues, unless Pope Benedict XVI can divest himself of the beguilements of statehood and devotion to obsolete canon law, the Vatican will remain in grave breach of the convention on the Right of the Child and in some other respects, an enemy of human rights. This event marks the publication of Geoffrey Robertson's new book The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Geoffrey Robertson QC Is With Me

I've said before that Ratzinger, the man who is the current Pope, the person who, in the Catholic Church, was the person responsible for handling child abuse allegations for the past 30 years or so and did SWEET FUCK ALL about those perpetrators who repeatedly raped children, needs to go.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is with me on this.

The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parallels iPhone/iPad App

This falls into the "things that almost make me think about a Mac desktop box, but not quite..." category:

So, a Mac desktop computer, running Win 7 in Parallels 6, then being able to access the Windows 7 apps remotely using an iPhone or (better) an iPad...

But could I use multiple monitors in the way I'm using them now?  I have 3 on my i7 Win 7 desktop now and will likely be adding a 4th soon as a dedicated OneNote display now that I'm finding I spend more time in OneNote 2010 than ever before.  That's one of the lingering doubts...

But this Parallels functionality, added to the Seagate DockStar Network Adapter or (better) a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Net Media Sharing Device to give you remote iPad/iPhone access to files that can't fit on these mobile devices is starting to really look impressive.

For example, you could walk onto a client site with your iPad to show a client your plans for the work you're going to be doing for them, find out they need a few changes, Parallels into your office Win 7 environment, make the edits and save them to the Seagate device, making them immediately available to view from your iPad.  You could also access those images/documents from an older job that the client may be interested in when you didn't think that they'd be appropriate, but now you've been brainstorming, this other information is relevant - you could do it now, in the cafe, on your iPad instead of needing to send the images when you get back to your office - it allows for more free-flowing sessions with clients in these types of scenarios.

The Seagate devices with PogoPlug functionality, even without the Parallels functionality, would be rather handy to have for many iPhone/iPad users.

Thanks to @Lachlan_Mc for bringing this new Parallels app to my attention.


The Outspoken Wookie

Are People Really This Stupid?

Honestly, if anyone's stupid enough to fall for the following email, you deserve what you get:

Sender:   TAXE
Subject:  Australian Refound

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $210.75 AUD . Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click

Australian Taxation Office
c Copyright 2010, Australian Taxation Office AU

Of course, I filled out their forms as "Gullible Idiot" who lives at "0 Go And Phish Somewhere Else, Wanker" and used an invalid CC number and Driver's License number (0000 15EE DEAD BEEF).  I wonder if these wankers will still try and use the number?  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Apple's iOS 4.1 Is Released

Apple has released their iOS 4.1 for iPhone 4, 3GS, 3 and iPod Touch (2nd Gen, 3rd Gen and 4th Gen).  This fixes the glitchy proximity sensor that is supposed to disable the touchscreen when you've placed the phone to your ear, adds some new features (such as HD video uploads (iPhone 4) and HDR photos (iPhone 4)), improves Bluetooth audio performance and fixes some bugs.


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cancel White Pages & Yellow Pages Book Delivery

Sensis has *finally* made a website available whereby you can cancel the delivery of those (now) useless paper versions of the WhiteP Pages, Yellow Pages and Local Yellow Pages.  Please visit to cancel the delivery of these unnecessary books to your home.

Now, if they were printed on 100% recycled paper (not the minumum 40% that's currently used), maybe this would be better too - delivering to only those homes and businesses that want them, and then printing on recycled paper - seems sensible to me.  At least they are getting part way there...


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, September 04, 2010

"We're All In" Goes Out #2

I recently blogged that Microsoft's BPOS went offline on August 23rd for over 2 hours.  Well, lightning definitely does strike the same place twice (as Intuit recently also showed) because Microsoft's BPOS also went dark for around 90 minutes yesterday, Sep 3rd.

Now, is this becoming a pattern?  I hope not, but there's only one way to find out for sure...

Microsoft, in their price-cutting war with Google Apps, may be biting off more than they can chew - considering Microsoft BPOS is still only offering Exchange 2007 and SharePoint 2003 and their own partners are offering Hosted Exchange 2010 and Hosted SharePoint 2010.  BPOS, even on the older versions of their own software, still offers a restricted feature set compared to the on-premise versions of the exact same components.  And then add this lag in application versions to their recent service instability and you have a service in need of some serious effort to get it to the point where "We're all in" actually means "and you can rely on this system" because, right now, well... I'd not like to have a reduced functionality, previous release cloud-based system that isn't all that stable being used to run my business.

I don't for a second think that Microsoft can't overcome these issues.  I do, however, wonder how long it will be before their Chief Directionless Officer (ie, Steve Ballmer) will actually get this right.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, September 03, 2010

Quicken Online Is Permanently Offline

Well, following on the heels of the June 2010 unscheduled downtime that left Intuit customers using their Quicken Online solution unable to pay vendors, accept payments from clients nor even pay their staff wages, Intuit has shown how much they really care about their customers by taking the Quicken Online service down and deleting all their customer's data.

Sure, there was a notice sent out about this, just before it was taken offline, offering people the ability to backup their data by downloading a CSV which isn't then able to be uploaded to, Intuits replacement for Quicken Online.  Of course, Intuit couldn't even work out how to migrate their customers' data from Quicken Online to

At least if you had been running Quickbooks locally and the computer failed, you could restore your data to another system and keep working.  However, by using Quicken Online, you've placed your hope and dreams entirely under someone else's control and in this case, these have been shat all over.

I wonder how many more cloud service vendors will be doing this in the future, or will they instead learn from the stupid mistakes that Intuit are making and do a better job with their own customers?


The Outspoken Wookie

Evolve IT - MS Small Business Specialist Partner of 2010

As a follow up to my recent post, I wish to pass our congratulations on to Nick Moran and the team at Evolve IT for being awarded the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partner of the Year.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Unroadworthy Decisions

The Clem 7 tunnel, trumpeted by the Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, is a lemon.  It was supposed to have a $4.28 toll for cars but is now running at $2 - less than 50% - in an attempt to get people to use it.  It was forecast that in April, a month after it opened, there'd be about 60,000 trips per day and around 90,000 trips per day after 6 months.  Instead, in July there were around 28,000 trips and now, over 5 months after its opening, there are still around this number - there's been little, if any, growth in usage.

After the tunnel has been open only 5 months, RiverCity Motorway has had to take an asset write-down of $1.544b on a total of $2b - that's a *MASSIVE* hit for any company - a reduction in company value of over 77%.  However, Maunsell Aecom, the traffic forecasting company who made $2.5m for its "forecasting" of traffic flow figures, has managed to restrict its liability to $500,000 in case it gets sued.  All this whilst the shareholders have had their initial $1 stocks reduced to $0.019.

Now, the Qld Police Service installing multiple speed cameras ("For Road Safety") in the tunnels will surely be a large part of the reason that it has a much lower than expected usage.  Personally, I want to change these signs to read "For Anna Bligh's Superannuation" which is a much more appropriate (and correct) description of why they are there.  Queensland is fast becoming a Police State thanks to Cap'n Bligh's selling off of pretty much all our assets, followed by the rapid expansion of speed cameras, red light cameras, speed averaging cameras and the introduction of laws that would have been appropriate in the 1600s (take the Anti-Swearing law as a good example of this).

Another reason for the low usage of the Clem 7 tunnel is that isn't well located - well, its exits aren't.  On the South side, it exits onto the M3/F3/SouthEast Freeway/Whatever It's Called This Week in one of the heaviest traffic flow sections in peak hour, creating further traffic issues.  Another Southside exit is right into a set of traffic lights on Ipswich Road where they have also closed off O'Keefe Street during the construction of an extension to the Busway.  Even once O'Keefe Street is re-opened, that won't alleviate much of the traffic issue here.  I've never used the Wynnum/Shafston Ave exit, so I have no personal experience of that exit (yet).

On the Northside, the main exit is right into a set of traffic lights on Lutwyche Road just north of RBWH - one of the heaviest trafficked sections of road on the north side of Brisbane.  The other Northside exit is onto the ICB, another heavily trafficked road.  So, you use the tunnel, only to hit lights (or at least heay traffic) as soon as you come out - after waiting in a queue for a change of lights to let you "flow" out of the tunnel at either end.

Had no-one thought of also widening the southbound freeway instead of just dumping the traffic from the tunnel onto it?  Had no-one thought of flyovers at the exit on Lutwyche Road to allow tunnel traffic to enter the Northbound traffic flow without holding everything up at those lights?

And when I drive past the tunnel entrance on the SouthEast Freeway heading north and again past the tunnel exit on the ICB heading towards Kingsford Smith drive, it takes me 8 minutes to make that trip, versus 4 minutes in the tunnel.  Admittedly, this isn't during peak hour.  So why would I use the tunnel when it isn't peak hour at all?  There's simply not enough time saving to make it worthwhile.

Now, another issue with Brisbane roads is the new Gateway toll - it rose from $2.95 for cars to $3.85 in July - that's a 90c increase (or just over a 30% increase in price).  I used to use the Gateway Bridge each week to get to the ABC TV OBs shed for QRL games, therefore contributing $5.90 to the Gateway loan repayments each week (at least).  After the toll increase, I now use the SouthEasy Freeway, ICB and Kingsford Smith Road, adding a total of about 5 minutes to my trip and saving me $7.70/week.  Time well spent, methinks.

So, Cap'n Bligh is selling off most of Queensland's assets and replacing them with Speed Cameras to generate replacement revenue.  We're getting private roads (Clem 7, the badly named Go Between Bridge - especially since it is so seriously underutilized, even more so than the Clem 7 tunnel and the highest road toll per metre in Australia) and a Gateway toll increase.

And somehow the "Queensland - The Smart State" slogan has slipped from common usage.  No wonder!

The Outspoken Wookie