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Hardware Update

Last year I bought a Lenovo W510 to use as my mobile(ish) Hyper-V lab.  I mentioned the initial problems I’d had with core parking - http://msmvps.com/blogs/richardsiddaway/archive/2010/08/06/lenovo-w510-hyper-v-and-bsod.aspx

Once those were resolved I haven’t had any other problems with it.  I never did get Virtual Machine Manager installed – I tripped over a problem that VMM won’t recognise the agent. Other people have reported the same problem (with different hardware and configurations so its not a W510 issue) but there doesn’t seem to be a known fix.  I might try again with VMM some day but at the moment I can live without.

All in all very satisfied with the W510 – it does what I required and gives me sufficient performance for  experimentation and demos.

Last years other purchase was a HP Mini netbook

http://msmvps.com/blogs/richardsiddaway/archive/2010/07/11/netbook-revisited.aspx

This has been even better.  Its my travelling machine of choice. I can work with Office documents, browse Internet, use my e-readers and even write PowerShell scripts.  I’ve run a number of presentations off it and it works excellently.

Another winner.

Next purchase is likely to be a tablet of some kind. Maybe this year or maybe wait until next version of Windows and see what comes along then

Lenovo W510, Hyper-V and BSOD

Beginning of the week I took delivery of a Lenovo W510 – i7 quad core with Hyper-Threading (Windows sees 8 cores) and 16GB of RAM.  From reviews I’d seen it seemed to run Hyper-V OK so it fitted the bill for a mobile lab.

Partitioned the disk OK and got Windows 2008 R2 installed.  Had to download a few drivers from the Lenovo (IBM) site but everything I needed was there or on the box already.  I’d ordered it with Windows 7 64bit so most of the drivers were available.

Installed Hyper-V and joined it to the domain.

Started moving Virtual Machines on to it and it started crash with a Blue Screen of Death.  Not good & I’m not amused at this point. Eventually got to the point where it wouldn’t start – continual BSOD.  Very not good – my new toy is going back if this continues!

Did some research and it seems there can be a conflict between core parking and Hyper-V.  Core parking is a power saving technology that puts cores to sleep if they are not being used. Hyper-V expects them to be there = BANG.

I booted into the BIOS screen and disabled the power management features on the CPU (and PCI bus for good measure) that enable core parking.  Restarted and everything now seems OK.

I can comfortably run a bunch of VMs and have a reasonable performance. 

Then I discovered that I had to reactivate Windows on all the VMs.  They’d been originally been running on a machine with AMD processor. New processor is Intel.  Its enough of a change to trigger reactivation.

All done and everything seems to work fine.

Time to get Virtual Machine Manager installed and see what that actually does.

Netbook revisited

I’ve had the HP mini 210 netbook for just over a month now. It is working out really well. 

I’ve written quite a bit on it – the relatively small height of the screen would be a problem for formatting large chunks of text and seeing the results but for first draft writing its great. Especially on the move.

I was unsure about just having 1GB of RAM but the machine seems perfectly responsive for what I’m doing – better than some of the laptops I’ve had to use.

The touchpad is still giving me a few problems but as I never get on with touch pads that’s not a surprise. My blue tooth mouse works just fine when I need a lot of mouse work.

Internet browsing is OK – again the relatively small screen size is a little restrictive.  I did use it on my last user group webcast as a monitor so I could see what was actually going out.  Worked a treat for that.

The other use I intended for was to run ebook readers – that works excellently.

Battery life is at least 6 hours and can be more depending on activities.

All in all it was a good investment.

Next purchase though is a beast of machine for using as a demo machine with Hyper-V and lots and lots of RAM

High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Chapter2

The first and second chapters of my book on Untangling High Availability and Disaster Recovery is available from

http://nexus.realtimepublishers.com/sgudb.php

 

Enjoy

Windows Netbooks: The Path to Low Cost Computing

 

Author: James Floyd Kelly

Publisher: Apress

ISBN: 978-1-4302-2399-3

My usual three criteria for judging a book are:

  • Is it technically accurate?
  • Does deliver the material it claims to deliver?
  • Is worth the cost of purchase and the time I spend reading it?

I came to this book more intrigued than anything.  I’d not really considered using a netbook – they are too small to do what I want. Right?  So I wanted to learn more and find out if my ideas were right.

At 202 pages this isn’t a massive book and the ratio of screen shots to text is pretty high so it is a fairly quick read.

The book contains 12 chapters and three appendices:

  • 1 The Netbook
  • 2 Netbook Hardware Option
  • 3 Netbook Maintenance
  • 4 Netbook Software Options
  • 5 Netbook and Google Docs
  • 6 Netbook and Malware Protection
  • 7 Netbook Web Browsers
  • 8 Netbook Email
  • 9 Netbook Calendar
  • 10 Netbooks and OpenOffice.org
  • 11 Windows 7 and Netbooks
  • 12 Finding Great Netbook Apps
  • A Netbook manufacturers
  • B Upgrading a Netbook to Windows 7
  • C additional Netbook Apps to consider

Chapter 1 opens the discussion with a review of exactly what a netbook is and why they are so useful. A jog through the main hardware components and a look at how they can influence your purchasing decisions completes the chapter. Chapter 2 follows straight on with a look at the extras you may want – USB hub, pen drive, external CD\DVD, mouse, keyboard etc. Chapter 3 gives a few hints on the watering (not literally) and feeding of netbooks.

By chapter 4 we’re looking at software.  A computer’s great but you can’t do anything without software. Open Source and Cloud computing get the most space here – especially openoffice.

Chapters 5, 8 and 9 are straight advertising copy for Google Docs, Google Mail and Google Calendar respectively.  Ok so as the author you love these but there are alternatives and in some cases much better alternatives.

Chapter 6 covers Malware with so good information on free AV products. The section on SpyBot is overdone.  If your netbook runs Windows 7 it has Windows Defender – works for me.

The brower is next with chapter 7 mainly given over to a discussion of Firefox. Chapter 10 returns to OpenOffice but agian doesn’t mention alternatives.

In chapter 11 we look at windows 7 on netbooks – good recommendation to get one with it installed. A check at a PC retailer today showed most have it installed. The book was published in October 2009 and is already showing its age.

Chapter 12’s discussion on applications spends too long explaining how to search the Internet. The bit at the end on online software repositories was worth waiting for. I also tried Attack of the Buggles (page 182) the book was almost worth it for that alone!

The appendices do what they say with Appendix C being an extension of chapter 12.

So in summary what do I think of the book:

  • technically it is accurate but on the light side.  Don’t look here for an in-depth discussion of the technologies. I’d give it 7/10
  • does it deliver on the material – yes. After reading this you would have a good idea of waht a netbook can do and if its for you - - 8/10
  • is it worth buying and reading. Not sure if I’d be totally happy if I’d bought it but it was worth the read. – 8/10

Overall, it made me think about netbooks and their place in the scheme of things – I might actually be getting one soon as I can see so uses for one – especially now I can get Windows 7 on one. - - 8/10

I think the book will suffer because of the rapid changes in this area of technology. Another edition in 12 months wouldn’t go amiss – if it was an ebook it would be quicker to update.

HA and DR book

The first chapter of my latest book for RealTime Publishers is available for free download. The title is The Shortcut Guide to Understanding the Differences Between High Availability and Disaster Recovery.

Download from http://nexus.realtimepublishers.com/sgudb.php

History of programming

This is well worth a read  🙂

http://james-iry.blogspot.com/2009/05/brief-incomplete-and-mostly-wrong.html

Technorati Tags: Programming,History