Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Toshiba Abandons HD-DVD

Good news for Playstation 3 owners, the (format) war is over, Toshiba are planning to cease all production and manufacturing of HD-DVD hardware and software, NHK have reported.

The move is aparantly going to cost Toshiba hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to stop production and leave the HD player market, although the announcement really couldn’t be avoided after Walmart had decided to stop retailing HD-DVD devices and focus purely on Blue-Ray.

Toshiba will still be selling their current stockpile of devices to stores for the time being, but have no intentions of investing further research in the technology.

Linux From Scratch

Linux From Scratch is a project that allows you to create your own fully customized Linux system following step-by-step guides entirely from source.

Why you ask? The idea is to provide users with a better understanding of the internal workings of the Linux OS, it allows you to create a distribution that contains only what you need, without all the extra applications and packages that you’ll never use, and allows you edit and adjust every single aspect of your system before you’ve even installed it onto your own machine.

You can find the project here, its a must for any Linux enthusiast with some time to spare…

ASmallOrange Referral System

ASmallOrange.com (the people who host this blog) have just introduced a brand new referral system for keeping track of new customers being referred to the company by existing customers.

When compared to their old system, this is a massive step forward. The older system relied on manual checking of each order to obtain the referrer, and in my experience, this did not work very well. This new system provides a completely automated tracking system along with automatic button creation and custom coupon codes, overall resulting in instant account credit.

If you are looking for a new web hosting, be sure to follow my link and have a look at ASmallOrange, and don’t forget the coupons: $5 off order - 5DOLLARS or 15% off order - 15PERCENT.
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CheapVPS Review

Here is a quick 1 week review of CheapVPS, the VPS hosting division of VAServ (i.e. A2B2.com). I’ll base this review on setup time, performance, network, control panel, uptime and support.

Setup Time - 8/10
After ordering the VPS, I received my invoice and billing area login details 17 minutes later. After having payed the invoice, it took another 9 minutes to receive the login information for my VPS. So overall, it took 26 minutes after ordering before I recieved my VPS. The only reason I am not giving a 10/10 is because the invoice was not sent instantly, and the system does not do instant setups (like SliceHost).

Performance - 7/10
The server performs well, about as good as you can expect for the price payed (which happens to be quite cheap). However, you have to manually mount the SWAP file, and the server load averages around 1.00 to 1.50, but this isn’t a problem.

Network - 8/10
Again, this performs quite well, but every once in a while the uplink speed seems to drop quite radically. I’ve seen download speeds ranging from about 200kb/s, to 2000kb/s. But then again, what can you expect on a shared connection?

Control Panel - 5/10
CheapVPS use the HyperVM Control Panel, which allows instant reboots, reloads, backups, a series of server-based commands and remote SSH login. So far, this is the worst part of doing business with CheapVPS, the Control Panel currently isn’t recording my bandwidth usage, its slow and often just simply doesn’t work. There is only so much CheapVPS can do about this, so I cannot complain too much…

Uptime - 10/10
So far no complaints here, the server is always up and I haven’t experienced any downtime.

Support - 3/10
The support team is slow, and more or less completely useless. After submitting a ticket, you receive a response fairly timely but it normally consists of “I will have Rus check this for you”, so in my experience there is pretty much only one person who can do this within the whole company. And more often than not, tickets are randomly closed and just plain not answered. CheapVPS seriously need to consider hiring better support, or allowing their support staff more access to server information.

Overall then, I would rate CheapVPS a 6.8/10. The service works, and its cheap enough, but they really need to pull together the support department to solidify the company.

torrentflux-b4rt

Being a big fan of torrents, but having a crappy ADSL connection that attempts to block torrent ports, I decided I needed an alternative.

So I shopped around a bit and purchased a VPS with the folk over at CheapVPS.co.uk, and did an installation of torrentflux-b4rt. The idea is, the VPS and torrentflux-b4rt do the job of leeching and seeding the torrent (on a 100MB connection, this goes a damn sight faster than an ADSL line), then I simply download the torrent at full speed via the web-based control panel.

Ofcourse, there are drawbacks to this. The legallity of the torrents must be kept within a certain boundry, as the VPS is just rented, not owned. And ofcourse, there is a disk usage and monthly bandwidth limit. With regards to the quality of the VPS, a full review will follow after a month or so, just so I can get the full flavour…

Embedding Terminal Into Gnome Desktop

Enclosed you’ll find a tutorial on how to embed the Terminal into a Gnome Desktop (such as Ubuntu). The tutorial requires the installation of a couple of packages and a bit of tweaking, but it looks pretty neat and saves you having to open a Terminal every time you are wanting something done.

The overall result looks a bit like this:

Click below to read the tutorial…

Continue reading ‘Embedding Terminal Into Gnome Desktop’

Wiki Scanner

A great little tool, which allows you to input either the name of an organisation, or a geographical location, then it lists every single edit to a Wikipedia article that organisation/location has ever made (even the anonymous edits).

It’s fun to see what people get upto from the office computer…

Check it out here.

Real Transformer


Direct Google Video Link

Xbox 360 Elite Release Date

Microsoft have today announced that the Xbox 360 ‘Elite’, will be launched in the UK on the 24th of August. However (as per usual), they have yet to announce a price for the console. Heres wondering how much a bigger hard drive, an HDMI connection and a new, shiney black case will cost the consumer…

The actual features on the Xbox 360 Elite are noted in this article that I published a couple of months back.

Archives, Navigation & Status

I’ve decided to activate a few nice features that come as part of the K2 Theme. The first you’ll notice is the “Advanced Navigation” feature, which incorporates a couple of simple, but very elegant, AJAX powered modules, such as the Live Search widget, that automatically displays results without the page refreshing. There is also an AJAX powered navigation slider that allows you to move around previous blog pages without having the refresh the page.

The second feature is the Archives Page, that shows a brief summary of all the posts and comments in the blog, as well as their Categories, Months of publish and a coloured, size-weighted tag cloud. All over, K2 is a pretty neat theme and I recommend anyone try it…

Finally, I’ve reinstalled and setup the Status Page (powered by Status2K), that does a very good of displaying the current status of the server in terms of running services and hardware (CPU, memory, disk usage, load etc). I picked up this script for $10 when the developer was first starting up, now it costs a bit more. It also lets you distribute dynamic server images, such as:

Again, I’d recommend this script to most people, especially webhosts looking to reassure customers of the reliability (or otherwise) of their servers.