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We are the mighty mighty Hawthorn!!

Hawthorn FCI've been waiting a while up here in Sydney, patiently following my beloved Hawks, and what a win :)

Our 10th premiership, the first in 19 years! I remember the 1989 grand final very well. It was a time when it seemed like it was our right to be in most grand finals. Now we're back!

The huge MCG crowd of 100,012 was also in good form - it would have been amazing to be there.

Geelong 5.3 6.12 9.18 11.23 (89)
Hawthorn 5.2 8.3 14.5 18.7 (115)

Play this often and loud!

03:25 AM, 27 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

My friend Xervier is so clever!

Here is a video of my little friend Xervier, reading and signing with his dad. Isn't he gorgeous :)

Xervier has Down Syndrome, but he doesn't let that doesn't stop him. At 17 months this is really amazing - big props to Paul his dad!

09:15 PM, 22 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

LinkedIn - how not to implement a site-down page

LinkedIn is down

We Haz Crashed

LinkedIn showing us how not to tell customers that their service is temporarily unavailable. It's down on an Australian Sunday afternoon, which is prime weekend upgrade time in the US, so I assume this is intentional (or semi-intentional) downtime. They might like to use this image I just made them at

Update: I don't know how long the site was down when I first posted, but about 50 minutes later the above error page was replaced with this one:


Update 2: Well the LinkedIn crew obviously agrees it was a non-optimal experience - less than a day later they had tracked down this post and left a comment. Nice work, and a good example of retrieving a positive experience out of an outage.

01:05 AM, 07 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (2)

Chrome a little disappointing

ChromeI had high hopes for Google's new Internet browser Chrome becomming my "application" browser on Windows. You see I currently run two browsers at all times. Firefox for general browsing and development (can't beat plugins like greasemonkey), and Safari for windows for accessing web applications (like google apps).

The reason I do this is two fold. One, Safari is faster than Firefox and two, that lets me restart my application browser semi-regularly without losing all my browsing.

I hoped Chrome would help in two ways. Firstly the V8 JavaScript VM comes from heavy hitters like Lars Bak of Strongtalk and Java HotSpot VM fame (per Avi) so you know it is fast; secondly it runs a separate process per tab, so the days of screwy javascript or flash crashing your other tabs are over.

But to be honest, in practice it was underwhelming. On Windows XP with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor the expense of windows process startup was noticable, and the startup time for google apps was easily 3 times that of the latest Safari nightly build.

Safari on Windows can be a little clunky, but the combination of it plus Firefox continues to be a winning setup for me.

08:13 PM, 03 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Sexy thin client hardware

PC over IP chipset

Forget a linux or other cpu+kernel+software based solution, a company called Teradici have an amazing chipset that encapsulates hardware compression/decompression of screen changes, encryption, usb etc.

The problem seems to be that you need a 1:1 chip in your host for each client. That's going to have trouble scaling.

11:29 PM, 02 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Thin client for your virtual cloud desktop

ThinLinX TLX200

I remembered a cheap thin-client company I saw at CeBIT Sydney this year: ThinLinX - an Australian company that makes cheap thin client devices that run the linux kernel (and thus nearly any remote desktop protocol you can imagine). They have full sound support so it's not impossible to imagine running your voice through the same device.

11:25 PM, 02 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Your desktop in the cloud

Virtual Desktop

Desktop cloud computing, Virtual desktop infrastructure... whatever you call it, it's a fairly obvious extension of data center based virtual desktops -- just using the cloud instead of your data center.

For the un-initiated, many organisations use a central server (or servers) on which all their staff work. On your desk you might have a very simple PC or something like a Sun Ray device, but all the work and files are housed in the data center. So if anything goes awry with your local hardware, or you have to move (due to a disaster or whatever), you can access your "PC" from anywhere. It also works out cheaper to provide and support.

So imagine that, but instead of your own server, you use the cloud - say Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing.

Well tonight I did just that. Here is a screen shot of me using a Linux desktop installation on Amazon EC2 - and I'm doing all the things many people do at work: using a calendaring tool (in this case the much ballyhooed Chandler), working on a spreadsheet (using Open Office) and web browsing (Firefox).

To access the desktop I am using VNC which means I could access it from my Mac, a Windows or DOS PC (yes, DOS :), just about anything. I'm in Sydney, and the Amazon servers are in the US, so the latency meant things were a little jerky, but just about useable. So with some tweaking and a slightly more advanced screen remoting technology and it could just about work. In the US I'm sure it is fine as it is.

So there you have it - in one night I provisioned a server that could run the desktops for a small office, and thanks to EC2 you just pay for what you use. Note that for this solution to work you really need the Amazon Elastic Block persistent disk technology, which should be available real soon.

Imagine - you start a new office in China, and all you need is an Internet connection, a firewall, a bunch of commodity hardware devices and a printer or two. As soon as you can get them there, you have the server ready to go. Or instead you need to relocate all your staff in a hurry and don't have a dedicated BCP location - internet and a few cheap PCs and your exact office environment is replicated. It's a good way to go for many offices, especially back and middle office etc.

10:12 AM, 02 Sep 2008 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)


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