BITS transfer over Remote Desktop with Powershell

So, I have a dedicated server and the machine acts as a Hyper-V host. Only Remote Desktop is enabled on the box, for security, but the VMs have their own ports open (HTTP, SSH, etc). Transferring files between the Dedicated Server and my home network is a bit of a pain… one way is to open a port locally (SSH or FTP) and download the file from home to the dedicated box… bit of a pain, but it does work… But now i have found some magic in BITS Transfer!

Bits Transfer allows you to download and upload files in the back ground, intelligently… Hence the full name of Background Intelligent Transfer Service… So, how to you get this to work with Remote Desktop?

In the Remote Desktop Client, under the Local Resources Tab, under Devices and Resources, click the “More” option and select the drives you want to share out to your server. Remember, the server has access to these files… I am not sure if everyone on the server can see them, so be careful. Connect to your server and go into Computer… you should, by default, see your extra drives… they dont have real drive names though… So, what you need to do is go to the address \\tsclient (should be always the same…) and you will see the drives you have shared. find the drive your interested in, find the exact file you want to copy over an Shift+Right click on the file. You will see an option to Copy As Path. Click this. Next, Open PowerShell (Should be installed on all servers, if not Google for it with Bing and find out how to install it. Once powershell is either opened or installed and opened, type “Import-Module bitstransfer”. now for the magic commands:

Start-BitsTransfer -source $sourceFile -destination $localtionFile
That is it… set $sourceFile to the URL of the file you want to download, and $locationFile to the place you want it placed. Powershell will show an progress bar of how the transfer is doing… But, what happens if the connection drops before the download finishes? Simple. Open your connection again, you should see your original powershell window. In here type:
Get-BitsTransfer | Resume-BitsTransfer
Now, this is looking for ALL bits transfers on the system, and then resuming them… You may want to check and see what Get-BitsTransfer shows as a result… In my case, i only want to start the jobs which are marked as having an error “TransientError” so my PowerShell Command is:
Get-BitsTransfer | Where-Object {$_.JobState -eq “TransientError” } | Resume-BitsTransfer
You could also use the Job ID if you have one (in my screen, its being truncated…)

So, What about downloading FROM the server to your local machine? Well, in the Start-BitsTransfer, swap the source and destination… Source is a local file on your server and destination is the fileshare on TSClient you want to upload to… and the resume upload and download will work to.

Another interesting option is to add the -Asynchronous option to the Start-BitsTransfer command. This will run the command fully in the background. there is aslo the option of using the -Suspend, which only adds the job, but does not start it immediately. In this case you can see some info about the download using the Get-BitsTransfer command. Finally, you need to run one final command: Complete-BitsTransfer. So, You would call
Get-BitsTransfer | Where-Object {$_.JobState -eq “Transferred” } | Complete-BitsTransfer
As the MeerKat says, Simples!

[UPDATED] Want to monitor the progress of the download? bitsadmin /monitor will show you the status of your transfer! Handy!

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Infinite Monkey Twitter

The Infinite Monkey Theorem states:

a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

This made me think… and more importantly, think about Twitter… I am thinking about my Final Year college project, and have been playing with the Twitter Streams API for the last few days. So far, i have about 650k of tweets to play with, but it made me think about using “fake” data for tweets… take the following as an example:

  • monkey tosses coin to say if its a response or a new tweet. if its a response, a new coin is used to figure if he responds to some he follows or someone he does not follow… if he does not follow, finally tosses a third time to figure if he wants to respond to a “famous” (more than 10000 followers) or not other monkey…
  • if response, find a tweet to respond to
  • monkey randomly takes a number from 1 to (140 – 1 (@) + twitter user name + 1 (space)). this is char count
  • monkey now tosses a coin to figure if he wants to add a hash tag… if yes, he tosses again to either use a random trending hashtag or a completely different one…
  • finally, the monkey, using the number of characters left, randomly hits the keyboard and makes a nonsense tweet…

this is much how i tweet at @tiernano :)

anyway, using this as an idea, and adding in monkeys following each other depending on how they feel (more coin tossing) you could get a lot of tweets using some lower powered machines (worker nodes) and some beefy hardware… this is starting to sound like an interesting problem… now to figure out more… leave it with me…

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Tiernan’s Podcast, Episode 1

So, my new podcast is now live! I am a podcaster again! for the next 3 weeks (Today, Tuesday 20th and Tuesday 27th) a new episode will auto publish. If you want to get them on your iPod, iPhone, i(Insert name here), Windows Phone, etc… Subscribe to the PodCast Feed here. Or you can download the files directly from here.


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5+ Screens and a cloud

Microsoft have talked about their idea of “Three screens and a cloud” for the future of computing. The idea is you have your PC (Laptop or Desktop, or Tablet once Windows 8 ships), your Smart Phone and your TV with an Xbox connected. And all your data is shared between them with the cloud… but it has made me think… Why only 3 screens? Why not 5?

Why 5+

The 5+ screens I am thinking about are as follows:

  • The usual 3 suspects: Main PC, Smart Phone and TV…
  • Your Watch
  • A Tablet (secondary machine)
  • Possibly your car in-dash screen (could be your smartphone or use your smartphone for processing and internet connection)

The idea of using your watch as a screen is something that is not exactly new. The original Microsoft based Spot watch used an FM signal to get data from the MSN direct service. This included weather, and if I remember correctly, also included calendar items.

In recent times, companies like Sony Ericson have developed their LiveView: a screen which connects to your Android phone using Bluetooth and shows information like phone status, weather, Facebook friends, and more.


iPod Nano

If you look at the new iPod Nano, we are getting close… there are even watch straps for the Nano. Apple’s latest Nano came with extra watch faces since people wanted it! But the Nano is missing a couple of thing:

  • Really needs Bluetooth! Not only for listening to music with, but also for talking to different devices… imaging if your Nano talked to your iPhone and got data streams like news, weather, phone call, email and SMS information, your next calendar appointment?
  • Apps! It seems as if the Nano is running a micro copy of iOS, so in theory, it should be able to run iOS apps… slightly modified apps mind you. And I can’t see it having enough power to run Angry Birds, but basic info apps should be enough…
  • Vibrate function: the ability to “buzz” when something happens… I carry my phone in an inside pocket or a pocket with other things, so I don’t usually feel it buzzing or hear it ringing… but if my “watch” did, I would notice!
  • A proper docking station: I would like, before I go to bed, to stick my “watch” in a docking station, which both charges and syncs contents to the device. It would also sync with the dock, telling it what time I want to be woken up the next morning.

Your Car

My car is currently a 2006 BMW 520D. It has the professional navigation system, which includes an 8.5” widescreen display in dash board. This is used by most of the functions in the car: audio, navigation, communications, in car information and climate control, all controlled by the iDrive. If your car could connect to your phone (mine already does for Bluetooth phone calls) to get information, data and more, it could be much more interesting:

  • Any music on your phone available at your fingertips.
  • Be able to call up data from the internet, giving you tips on traffic, your latest calendar appointments, friends’ check-ins, and more.
  • Your car being able to send data to your mechanic over the internet for diagnostics information. It could also send data like millage, fuel usage, etc., so you can see how your fuel economy is doing…
  • Apps, working both on your phone and your car, for operations like Navigation and Music.

BMW already have this with its ConnectedDrive which does a lot of these functions, but currently only works with the iPhone.

Your secondary machine

Most people have one main PC. Be it a big honking workstation, like the GodBox, or a standard Laptop or Desktop machine, it usually is something fairly powerful, which could be used for anything from Internet browsing and email, to syncing your music and videos to your devices (iDevices, Windows Phones, etc) to video editing and photo processing, to developing code. Either way, it’s a large enough machine with enough power to do what is required.

But, what about the second machine? The machine you would use for tasks requiring less power… this is where I think the likes of an iPad, Windows 8 Tablet or Android Tablet come in. these are thin clients, but still have a bit of power to do work on them directly. You’re not going to open your iPad and do coding directly on it (well, maybe you could…) but you may login to a remote machine and tweak code, or check how a build is doing. The “secondary” machine is perfect for this.

Think of it as a medium build machine. I mentioned the idea of a Medium Build Client when talking about Cloud Desktops a while back. My thought of it was around the Windows 8 Tablet. Since the Windows 8 Tablet can be a proper Intel processor, like the Build Tablet that was handed out at the Build conference, can actually run as a full Windows PC, and runs Visual Studio “11”, I see it as something that can be used as mostly a full machine, but also as a thin client for connection to larger machines.

So, what is the ideal Solution?

I don’t think we are there yet, so there is no solution at the moment, but what would ideal would be the following walk though:

  • Be woken up in the morning by my Alarm clock, which is acting as a dock for both my Phone and Smart Watch. The watch’s time would be kept in sync with all other devices. So, you stick the watch on, grab your phone and tablet (which is also syncing with your main workstation) and head down for breakfast.
  • Reading the news and checking mail on your tablet, your watch buzzes to remind you about a meeting in about an hour and a half. It knows it’s going to take you about 50min to drive to work, but traffic is a bit heavy, so it warns you to leave a little earlier. You finish up and jump in the car. Your phone and car talk to each other. Since your car knows your heading to work, it finds the route you usually take, and checks traffic information. It notices there are delays on your usual route, and decides to re-route you so you get in to your meeting on time.
  • You get to the car park, leave your car and head to the office, a 5 min walk. While walking down the road, you’re listening to music on your Bluetooth headphones from your phone, and your watch buzzes. You have a quick look and it’s a text from someone coming to the meeting asking where it is. You hit the call button on your watch and have a chat with the client, giving them directions. When you get to the office, you hit the send location option on your phone and send them an email with your current location, so they can find you on their phone.
  • During the day, you use your tablet to work, connected to an external screen, with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 90% of your work is done on a remote machine in your datacentre, allowing you to get extra power and machines as needed. Your servers all live in the cloud, and your data is backed up regularly. All your code is stored in your code repo (SVN, GIT, Mercurial, TFS) and if your machine goes down, you can spin up a new instance, and get back to where you left off pretty quickly.
  • At about 3 o’clock, you hit the slump and head to the local Starbucks to have a coffee and get out of the office for a half hour. You head down with the tablet, your phone and your headphones. Sitting in the back of the Starbucks, drinking your coffee, using their wifi and listening to music, you start looking through email and documents. You’re on instant messenger and keeping an eye on your bug tracker when you notice an important bug for a section of code you own coming in. Since you don’t have as much bandwidth to work on the remote desktop with as high a fidelity as you do in the office, you update your local copy of the code to the latest version, open your copy of visual studio, take out your travel keyboard and mouse and start coding the fix. You run your tests, check in, and a Continuous integration build gets kicked off… at this point you finish your coffee and head back to the office. On your way, your watch buzzes to tell you the build has completed and all tests have passed. You send a “deploy to test” message from your watch’s custom application, and head to your office. You get back and all is good with the build and the world…
  • You’re about to head home after a long day in the office. You decided to chance your arm at cooking a Thai Green Curry. You check your tablet to see what is in the house and what is needed for the curry. You add the list of missing ingredients to your to-do list, which is synced with your watch. You head to the car park, hop in the car and hit the start button. As you are driving out of the car park, the car notices the shopping list. It finds a local shop on the way home, but also realizes you need diesel for your car. It adds the shop and finds the cheapest fuel station on your way home, to your navigation system, and directs you to the quickest route with the least amount of traffic.
  • After filling the car with fuel, and as your heading to the shop, your car informs you that your Miles per Gallon since the last fill up was about 10% off your average. It notices your last service was nearly 12 thousand miles previously and suggests a service. You confirm and the car books itself in for a service, adding the details to your calendar.
  • You arrive at the shop, and take out your phone. You pull up the shopping list in a custom application, which knows the layout of the given shop, and shows you where the items you are looking for will be. You pick up the items, scanning them with your phone as you go along. Your phone gives you a running total, and pops up with some offers as you scan items. “Did you know the shop’s own brand of this item is 25% cheaper?” or “you usually buy this every 2 months, and it has a shelf life of 10. If you purchase 2 of these now, you get a third one free”. When you arrive at the checkout, you tap your phone on the NFC reader. The assistant asks if everything scanned correctly, and pay using the NCF system in your phone. You place everything in a bag and head out to the car and drive home.
  • Once home, you place the tablet in the kitchen dock. You load up the recipe and it starts talking you though what needs to be done. You miss a step, so you ask it to repeat the last item. While you are waiting for it to finish, you load up the Netflix application and see what is in your instant queue. You start looking though new releases and see a new film you would like to watch. You add that to your queue, and finish cooking your meal.
  • You head to the sitting room, lights automagically come on, and you turn on the TV and Xbox. You tell the Kinect to load up Netflix and select the film you want to watch. It dims the lights, closes the curtains and starts playing the film. You sit back with a beer and your curry, and relax.
  • After a few more beers, a very tasty curry, and an enjoyable film, you head to bed. You stick the tablet in its charging station, your phone and watch in their docks, and yourself into bed… it will all start again the next morning.

This idea is not all that “pie in the sky” as it might sound. We have the Technology, we have the ability, we just need to link it all together… it’s the magic glue that is going to need to be developed, and I am now just wondering who is going do develop the magic glue? Apple? Microsoft? Google? They all could do it, Microsoft probably being the closest, but the question is not who will get there first, but who will do it the most integrated?

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New Backup plan… out with Jungle Disk and ZManda Cloud Backup, in with CrashPlan, MySQLBF and SqlBF…

[UPDATE: After a few days, i tried CrashPlan Pro on a 30 day trial… Now i find out that its not available outsite the US and Canada… Its a bit hiden in their FAQ… So, back in search i go!]

My current backup strategy is a long and convoluted one, but it did work… until i shut a lot of stuff down… now i am starting to re-think my plan… first the existing “plan”…

  • my main laptop, a Mac Book Pro, is backed up to my Main Workstation (AKA the GodBox) via iSCSI. The GodBox is running Windows 2008 R2 Server, and has the free Microsoft iSCSI Target installed. I am sharing 2 300Gb VHDs to the MacBook Pro, and those are in RAID 1 on the laptop. Time Machine then backs up to this drive. Also, the iTunes Music, Movies, Apps and TV Shows, and also photos from my camera are also backed up to Jungle Disk. Currently this weighs in at about 160Gb…
  • The GodBox itself has a couple of RAIDed Drives (I know, i know… RAID is not backup…). So, my Photos are stored on a RAID 1 array, which is then backed up using Jungle Disk. The photos college is weighing in at about 180Gb or so… probably more.
  • I have a dedicated server in Germany (this is where this site is being served from… Hello from Germany) and that has the actual contents of the site, database, images, etc. these are currently backed up regularly (every 3 hours for a incremental backup, nightly for a Full backup). I am using ZManda Cloud Backup for this. ZManda has the advantage of backing up SQL and MySQL server, as well as SharePoint and Exchange.
  • There is a machine in the house which acts as an internal Git server (Linux, SSH, Git… simple). JungleDisk was installed on this and backed up the folder where Git lived. works grand…

So, there are a couple of outstanding issues with this setup:

  • for the amount of data i am storing (About 500Gb give or take) with JungleDisk, its costing me about $80 a month. Its costing me about the same for a Dedicated Server, and it is about the same cost of a 1Tb drive, every month!
  • I have logged into the Dedicated server a few times over the last while and found that ZManda was using 900Mb of RAM. Restarting the service solves the issue, but its still a bit of a pain to restart every few days. ZManda released a Version 4 of their ZCB software. I am still on 3.x since MySQL backup was not added to Version 4 yet…
  • If i want to use the same software to backup files around the house, but not in the cloud, ZManda can do it, but JungleDisk cannot.
  • I am using 2 different backup systems…
  • JungleDisk charge $2 per client machine per month, and $4 per server per month (includes some storage with that price… check their site for the latest). Storage is then either charged at about $0.15 per month if you use their API key, or if you use your own, Amazon will charge you… They also use with Amazon S3 or RackSpace Cloud for storage.
  • ZManda is a one off fee per month ($4.95) and you can use that one license to backup as many machines you want. storage is charged at $0.15 per GB, and they are offering 25Gb free… the 25Gb is based on each AWS Region giving you 5Gb free… I suppose since a new Region just opened in Oregon, that could now be 30Gb…

So, i went looking, and i think I found a solution… Some investigation still needed, but we are getting there… here is the plan.

  • The MacBook Pro will still be using TimeMachine to backup to the GodBox using iSCSI, but the plan will be the GodBox gives it 500Gb of storage already RAIDed… Music, Movies, Photos and Apps will be backed up to CrashPlan. They plan i am looking at will cost me about $12 per month and give me the ability to backup up to 10 machines and gives me Unlimited space… We all know what Unlimited means, but it should be enough… Also, CrashPlan gives me the option to backup to my own machines. So, these files will also get backed up to the GodBox.
  • The Photos and important files on the GodBox will also be backed up to CrashPlan. Less important files, but files i want “safe” will be backed up to my Drobo, which currently has about 4Tb usable. The MacBook Pro files will also be dropped in here.
  • The Server in Germany will get backed up to CrashPlan too…. I am liking this idea already… Very simple. I am going to use 2 pieces of software to backup SQL and MySQL: SQL Backup and FTP and MySQL Backup and FTP. Been using the free version for a while, and they do a nice job. Would need to go for the Pro Version (About $50 for MySQL edition and $60 for the MSSQL Edition) but that will backup to a location that CrashPlan will watch, and all the magic will be done then. Any files i want backed up will also end up in CrashPlan.
  • Since CrashPlan allows me to backup up to 10 machines in the cloud, i can add more as needed. Also, machines in the house that would not require cloud or offsite backup can be backed up to other machines in the house without any issues.

This should save me a bit of money over time… My first months outlay will be a little more than my usual JungleDisk bill…. After next month, things should start paying for themself…

Ohhh, and while i am at it, the FREE CrashPlan software allows you to do 95% of what i mentioned above… Actually, more than 95%… the only things it wont do is Cloud Backup (you can still backup to your own machine offsite or a friends machine somewhere) and Backup Sets (Say you want your Documents in the Cloud, but your Music on internal machines, they could be different backup sets).

[Full Disclosure I am paying full price for the service and software above at the moment (on a 30 day trial for CrashPlan, and looking into the SQL and MySQL backup software currently) so this is just what i am planning on doing, not an advertisement…]

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Using Dropbox as a personal Git and Mercurial Storage area

This is something i have been using for a while now, and though it might be an idea to write a quick post explaining how to set Dropbox up as a folder to push your Git and Mercurial files to… But first, why would you want to?

So, you have a project you want to work on with multiple machines, and you want a source control system to easily manage files and state. You decided to use Git or Mercurial. I am not going to tell you which one to use… I use both for different projects. Anyway, you have decided to use Git or Mercurial, and you now want to be able to access the files from multiple locations. Since these locations are all your machines  (hopefully), you need to have a location that all machines can access. so, with the help of this tutorial, you can use Dropbox as your shared location. the following steps will need to be setup only once. When adding extra machines, follow the steps further on down.

  • First, you will need a Dropbox Account. If you don’t have one, click here and sign up.
  • download the Dropbox installer, and link your machine. when installing, you will be asked to set the default location of your Dropbox folder, or a custom location. I picked the default location, and as i am running Windows 7, my Dropbox location will be at c:\users\tiernano\dropbox. yours will be different…
  • next, you will need either Git or Mercurial for Windows. msysgit is what i use for git on Windows. Mercurial have a Windows installer also.
  • so now, we will branch out into either Git or Mercurial tasks:
  • for GIT:
    • Open Git Bash from the Start menu
    • you are now in a Unix-ish style command prompt… if you are not familiar with Unix… this might be interesting…
    • first, your Dropbox location will be at ~/Dropbox (~/ being your home directory)
    • cd into your ~/Dropbox folder, and create a folder called git (this is what i did, you may want to be different)
    • cd into your git folder, and create a new directory called yourproject.git (again, change it to your liking…)
    • cd into the yourproject.git folder and type git init –bare. this creates a bare repo for you to use. since this is in your Dropbox folder, all your machines synced with Dropbox will get this folder soon…
    • next, create a working folder.
    • decided where you want to put this (ideally, not on your Dropbox folder)
    • so, in my case i have a folder in my Documents folder in my home directory called project. I type cd ~/Documents/project to get to this folder.
    • when in this folder, type git init. this folder is now a git working folder.
    • add your files as needed. git add <filename> will add a file to git. git commit –m “your message” –a will commit all modified files on your repo with the message “Your Message” to the repo… Have a look for a git Tutorial to find more.
    • next, add a remote to your current repo. git remote add dropbox ~/Dropbox/git/yourproject.git will add your dropbox as a remote repo.  typing git push dropbox master will push your master branch to Dropbox .
    • that’s most of what you need to know.
  • For Mercurial, the following needs to be done
    • open a command prompt, and cd into your Dropbox folder.
    • create a folder, i called mine hg (the mercurial command is HG…)
    • in your hg folder, create a folder called myproject.hg.
    • cd into the folder and type hg init. this creates a Mercurial directory.
    • next, go to the directory you want to use for your project.
    • type hg clone <full path to your myproject.hg folder>. if hg is setup correctly, all should be grand. hg add and hg commit files, and then hg push to the Dropbox location.
  • if you want to add a new machine to your git repo, find your directory you want to clone to and type git clone ~/Dropbox/git/yourproject.git yourproject. your working directory is now in the yourproject folder. git push will push back to Dropbox . git pull will pull from Dropbox.
  • the hg clone <full path to your myproject.hg folder> will also work for adding extra machines to your repo.

hopefully this explains everything… any questions, leave a comment.

kick it on

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RIP Steve

Today is a sad day. RIP Steve


Sent with my iPhone.

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More on Desktop in the Cloud

So, today an email came accross my inbox, which, in one way, i though should be marked as spam, but in another way, though it was an interesting idea, so i checked it out… Now, just to make things clear: I though it could be spam, but it may not be… I could have signed up for some information, and this is where it came from, but i dont know…

Anyay, the email was from a company called desktone, who specilize in Virtual Desktops in the cloud. This is something that interested me and something i have tried before with Rackspace’s Hosted Virtual Desktop offering. their idea is a lot, by the looks of things, like Rackspaces, and, from the ping and speed test results, run in the same datacenter. but this has gotten me thinking…

I carry a late 2008 MacBook Pro with 8Gb ram and 500Gb HDD, running OSX Lion. I bring ths to college with me, and it does 90% of what i need. but for the rest, like Visual Studio coding, i remote desktop into the GodBox at home and do my major coding there… and it has me thinking: this could be very handy for smaller companies: in the place i work currently, we are all issued with Laptops. this makes moving around the place a lot easier… there are a few inherent problems with laptops that i can see:

  • they are more expensive then desktop machines of equivilant power
  • they are less upgradable (memory aint too hard, but most wont allow multiple drives, and upgrading graphics is usually out of the question…
  • if all your data is stored on the laptop, and you loose it, your screwed, especially if 1) its not backed up and 2) its confidential or sensitive…
  • and if you do loose it, it might take you a couple of days to get back to a good state…

With something like virtual desktops and a medium build client* you could have the best of both worlds. my thoughs behind it are as follows:

  • big box in a datacenter or in the office, with lots of CPU, memory and HDD space.
  • large enough pipe between the big box and clients. if its in the office, and you only have a few remote users, but lots of internal users, GigE in the office will probably do, depending on users, and decient internet connection (minimum of about 10-20MB both ways) for external users
  • on the big box, something like HyperV and System Center Virtual Machine Manager, VMWare and what ever they have, or Xen, etc… what ever the Virtualization software, it should support snapshots, creating VMs from a base image, etc, etc… something that will allow users to create a new VM easily (within their allotted VM capacity) and re-create machines based on previous snapsots… so if someting does go wrong, you can go back in time, or start from a good known state…
  • as for this medium build clients, you will probably want to use something ike BitLocker on the HDD for security, sync your documents folder with a file share any time it changes (this way it should be in sync with your VM), backups, etc…

Its an interesting idea, and something i like reading about… And if your not into the idea of some else hosting your desktop, like the Lads at Rackspace or desktone, you can always spin up your own instance on Amazon EC2 or Windows Azure and use them…

*Medium build client is somewhere between thick and thin client… still have processing power on board to allow work when “offline” but uses the power of the remote sever when connected…

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Just about 3/4 of the year though Review…

Right, so at the start of the year, i wrote a post on the things i wanted to do this year… Oddly enough, one of them was not blog more, which is something i haven’t done anyway… That post, which was posted at the start of January was only 6 posts ago! I really need to post more!

Anyway, quick round up of how its going…

  • Develop at least one mobile app: I have started on this, but not released anything. I have a project on GitHub i have been meaning to finish. I also have a bit of a sample project with Windows Phone 7 Code i started… I did get enrolled in the Windows Phone Developer program though College, so i just need to “pull my finger out” to get something finished…
  • Work on my own projects outside of work: I have done some work outside of “work” work… I have some public projects on GitHub, like the Loggly Target for NLog (which i posted about here), GitPushMSBuild, which will (whenever i get around to finishing it) will allow you to do a git push to a repository, which will then kick off an MSBuild, erm, build…  I have some private Repos also, but i could tell you what was in them, but i would have to kill you…
  • Move the sites outside of the network: Done! Finally, all my sites are running on a dedicated box in Germany from Hetzner. Its an Dedicated EQ4 with Quad Core i7, has 8Gb ram, 2 750Gb HDDs in RAID 1, got 100mb/s connection, IPV4/6 connectivity and is running Windows 2008 R2 Web Edition. As a second part of this, i have also started the move of my Exchange Box from In house to Office365. No more managing of Exchange for me! well, physical machine management anyway!
  • Use a language other than c# for programming: Ok, so in College last semester, I wrote code in Java. I also wrote some Java code for work. I am also looking into coding in CUDA though a course from Stanford on GPU programming, which is mostly C++.
  • Take more photos: Right… I have actually taken a few more photos this year than i though… Putting them online is a different story… The last set of photos i posted this year, taken this year, was on Paddy’s day of random cars and trucks i seen around. the last one previous to that was from New York last year
  • Finally fix my room and desk once and for all! Currently in the process of doing this (I swear!) Most of my machines are off, i can see and get to parts of my room i haven’t been able to get to in years, and i have the desk (mostly) picked out… the Ikea Vika Amon / Vika Curry seem to be what i want… Now all i need to do is get to finish what i started…

There were some Random things i wanted to try get done also:

  • Get a new media centre box: Got a small Media Centre a while back. Don’t know what its called, but its a Dual core Atom, has about 2Gb RAM, runs Windows 7, has HDMI with audio out and does the job i want it for, which is, currently, play videos using Boxee
  • Build a SAN: I have the hardware, just haven’t finished it… like a lot of my Spare time stuff…
  • Rip ALL my DVDs and Blu-rays: The problem with this one is 2 fold: one: i don’t have a DVD or Blu-ray player in the GodBox, my most powerful machine… i reckon it would encode a DVD or Blu-ray fairly quickly… And second: without the SAN, i am running out of space quickly… So, first is to finish the SAN. then, put a Blu-ray drive in the GodBox and start ripping!

SO, overall, getting there… I will try post a bit more also… Im just a Lazy git… Smile

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Apple’s iCloud: Purchased Music (and Music Videos) and Apps now live

So, Apple announced a few things today at the WWDC. iOS5, and iCloud. I could talk about Lion (and how they are killing the DVD install and only making it available to download by the App Store) or iOS (And the notifications features, iMessaging and how that will piss the Carriers off) but i wont… At the moment i am going to talk about the iCloud feature for storing music you have already bought on iTunes in the cloud…

So, how does it work? Currently, if you buy music or music videos from iTunes, and you loose it (hard drive failure, etc) you can request to get it back, but only once… after that, its lost. if you dont learn to backup the first time, you’re screwed… With this feature, Apple does the backing up, but also the syncing.

The idea is as follows: You buy music on your iPhone. It is downloaded to the iPhone, but it will also sync back to your iPod or iPad, if they are setup for it. It also means that if you loose your iPhone, and buy a new one, all your music that you’ve purchased can be redownloaed to your device, without the need to repurchase it. handy!

Another interesting feature they are adding, but it is not live yet, will be iTunes Merge: basically, it looks at the music you have in iTunes, figures out if there is a copy of it available on the iTunes server (in the store) and if so, copies their version to your iCloud storage (guessing they aint actually copying it, but more linking it). Anyway, this makes me wonder… does this now validate the music that someone may have gotten by non legal means? i mean i can understand them validating music that was ripped off CD, but how do they know?

Anyway, the feature for Purchased Music and Music Videos, aswell as Apps is now live. Some screen shots below.

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