OS X Mountain Lion

That’s right, OS X Mountain Lion and not Mac OS X Mountain Lion, was released to the world today. Unfortunately I cannot upgrade just yet because some internal applications that we use at work have not been tested against it. 

So, I getting over it by applying the new OS X Mountain Lion wallpaper to my existing Mac 🙂

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold, OS X Pikey Mountain Lion… It’s the best fake OS we have ever built!

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My Home Cisco Lab – Part 1

At long last I have finally broken the procrastination barrier and put together my own home made Cisco lab using various bits and pieces that I have collected over time. My lab consists of the following components:

  • Cisco 2600 Series Router
  • Cisco Cisco 2960 Catalyst Series Switch
  • Dell Optiplex 320 running Xubuntu 12.04 LTS

The whole purpose of this is to get ready to recertify my CCNA. I was considering doing the CompTIA Network+ exam instead, but I have read that it is too entry level and that the CCNA is more credible. I have already obtained the CCNA twice, but it expires every 3 years. There is more content in the new exam, which covers VoIP, IPv6 and wireless technologies.

TTY connections on my Dell Optiplex 320:
stubuntu@stubuntu-OptiPlex-320:~$ dmesg | grep tty
[ 0.000000] console [tty0] enabled
[ 2.074050] serial8250: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
[ 2.476771] 00:08: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A

The physical connection named ttyS0 is the connection I am interested in because that is how I will interface with the 2600 router and 2960 switch. I will then use minicom as the application to utilize the physical connection into each device.
http://www.routemybrain.com/how-to-connect-a-cisco-router-switch-to-linux-terminal-using-minicom/

I am able to see the output from both devices, but unfortunately it is not receiving any input from my keyboard. After a bit of Googling I found that this could be due to the incorrect pinout configuration on the DB9 serial adapter. The cable I have is the official Cisco cable, but the DB9 connector is a random, most likely selfmade, serial connector. I just ordered an official Cisco RJ45-to-DB9 all-in-one cable from Amazon for $4.

Once I have the new cable I will be able to proceed with the next step outlined here: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/routers/ps259/products_password_recovery09186a0080094675.shtml

Right now I am just stuck with the “Press RETURN to get started!” screen…

My Life is the Web

I don’t want to get all historian on you or anything, but the web has come a long way since I was introduced to it 1994.

Me and my best friend, who just so happened to be my next door neighbour, shared a passion for computer games. We both had Sega Master Systems, Sega MegaDrive’s, Sega Game Gear, Sega Saturn and a handful of Gameboy’s in-between. I never had one, but I am pretty sure he had a Spectrum at one point too!

Looking back now it seems so obvious that we would eventually progress to the ways of the PC. My friend beat me to it, as did he beat me to getting the Internet first as well. This was a very primitive Internet, an Internet that made this sound every time you wanted to connect to the digital world. This was when Yahoo! was “The Internet” and the gateway to a host of information across the world. This very information came in the form of plain text HTML pages consisting of the odd GIF image. Using “The New Internet” I was able to pull up an image of the original Yahoo! homepage:

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Having the ability to grab that image on a whim, so I can insert it into this very blog post is what I like so much about the Internet. The difference is that this time I used Google 🙂

Now as funny as that Yahoo! homepage may look to some here is the original Google Beta of 1998. Was that exclamation mark a jab at Yahoo! I wonder…?

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My friend and I are lucky to have been able to witness the web explode and evolve into what it is today. I am aware that the Internet existed decades before the Internet that I am talking about, but that was only accessible if you had lots of money or was involved with the development of ARPANET. However, the web we know is the one that was the “commercial” Internet. All you needed was a 44k dialup modem, a subscription to your local ISP, a PC and voila! You were up and running within minutes… yes, minutes, these modems were not always connected I’ll have you know! Sometimes these modems couldn’t connect at all, but if you were like me and my friend and enjoyed the sound of a dial up modem establishing a connection to its local exchange then having to sit through it a number of times was a joy!

There were multiple applications that were built which required an Internet connection. Things like IRC and ICQ, which were our favourite forms of communication. Then Web 2.0 set to change the world and other things like web-based email was born and Habbo Hotel.

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Some people argue that we have already entered Web 3.0. It’s easy to see why, what with the birth of increased network speeds, social networking, smartphones, tablets, data collection, HTML5 and cloud computing there are things we are doing now that just weren’t possible just 5 years ago.

With all this Internet goodness it makes sense to utilize fast, reliable, standards-based, open, well supported application to access it. Steve Jobs looks at technologies as seasons, where something up and coming would be Spring and a technology on the way out is Winter and on its way to the tech graveyard. In my opinion Google Chrome fits into the Spring category.

It’s extremely impressive that this relatively new browser has risen to the top. I have always been between Safari, Firefox and Chrome, but when I discovered that Chrome had made its way to the very top of the browser market share chart it was clear that by looking at the green line Chrome shows no signs of slowing down. When I started using it again it was clear why. Everything about it just works. It has native bookmark syncing that syncs with my Gmail account without the need for a ridiculously long hash key (Firefox) or the requirement to install a separate plugin (Xmarks, which doesn’t sync passwords for free).

In fairness to Mozilla the Firefox browser is sweet and they don’t have the funds and muscle that Google has to push it forward.

Despite that it is clear that Internet Explorer and Firefox are on the decline. Internet Explorer may see a slight comeback when Windows 8 brings the metro style Internet Explorer 10 to the world, but the rumor mill has it that Google is already hard at work on a metro version of Chrome. On the other hand, Mozilla is reportedly struggling to get their Gecko platform into the metro format. This will no doubt further hurt the development of Firefox.

Everything within Google Chrome syncs flawlessly and no matter what computer or OS I am on the experience is identical everywhere I go, which is a huge plus because the web is what I spend 99% of my time on! Even the applications I use at work require a web browser, not to mention that the company I work for has released a plugin that allows you to do video calls directly from the browser. I literally have my weekly meetings bookmarked and they follow me wherever I go!

So, for me to enjoy the web as it is today Google Chrome is where it’s at.

Goodbye iTunes Match. Hello Amazon Cloud Player!

I am now a customer of Amazon’s Cloud Drive / Cloud Player suite of online storage and entertainment!

For $20 ($4.99 less than iTunes Match) I now have 20GB’s of online storage and ALL of my music in the cloud. This isn’t a vendetta against Apple, but more of a ploy to have a neutral vendor where I can stream or download my music to any device from any device. 

I constantly interchange between my work Mac account, personal Mac account as well as the Windows 7 Ultimate partition on my MacBook Pro. Using simply a browser I will be able to access all of my music in any of these accounts.

This is great because I can spend days at a time in Windows 7 if I am troubleshooting a customer issue. I also no longer have to rely on my phone as a walkman when in the office or at home. Plus, the Amazon Cloud Player app is available on multiple mobile OS’s as well, unlike Google’s online music offering.

I am pretty sure Apple will be releasing a browser based version of iTunes that will most likely be associated to your iCloud.com login, but as previously mentioned, this is more of a ploy to not have one vendor control everything. If I were to have an Android or Windows Mobile in the future I know my Amazon music/data will be accessible. Right now there is no iCloud or iTunes Match app that would let me stream my iTunes music on Android or Windows Mobile. I would have to manually sync to a non-iDevice.

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Amazon Music vs Google Play

With Amazon I can pay $20 per year and receive a limited special offer whereby I can upload any amount of music that is already on my computer without it eating up any of my 20GB storage space.

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The alternative is to use Google Play, which allows me to upload up to 20,000 songs completely free.

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In iOS there is an Amazon Cloud Player app that will let me stream my music to my iPhone. Right now, there is no Google Play/Music app that allows me to do the same thing. I can, however, browse to the Google Play website and play my music on my phone that way.

Decisions, decisions…