Sunday, June 15, 2008

SanDisk mail-in rebates through June 29th

SanDisk has a mail-in rebate offer through June 29th on several popular models of SD, CF and Memory Stick Duo cards. The rebates are on a sliding scale; the more you buy the more you save. The amounts range from $5 off a single 1GB SD card to $300 off three 16GB CF cards.

For example, I just ordered two 8GB SanDisk Extreme III SDHC cards for $74.95 each. Adorama's website lists the price as $34.95 after rebate, but that's for one. You get another $5 off each card when you buy two, lowering the per-card price to $30.95.

Friday, June 13, 2008

new domain and contact info

The new URL for my blog is My new e-mail address is

In case anyone is interested, I'm using Google Apps for blog and e-mail hosting, and EveryDNS for free DNS management. I'm still not a fan of Google Docs or whatever their spreadsheet bit is, but I may start using some of their other tools for putting content online. Watch this space. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ILUG 2008 Day 3: Friday

The plan was we would get up so I could hit the 9AM sessions at ILUG and Myron would spend the day playing tourist. The alarm went off at 8 and my head felt like it was stuffed with concrete and my throat was so sore I couldn't talk. I turned off the alarm and croaked out that I wasn't going anywhere. I finally woke up around 10:30.

Myron was showered and headed out to a pharmacy to get some medicine for me, then went to do his final last gasp of sightseeing. I e-mailed a couple of people to let them know I wouldn't be at the conference and went back to bed. Here are some of Myron's pictures of his travels.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ILUG 2008 Day 2: Thursday

My presentation was on at 9:00 AM. I didn't sleep much. I did one run-through last night and managed to complete in under an hour, but I have a few things I need to make sure I don't forget. I got up at 7:00 AM to make sure I had enough time to get those last things wrapped up and get over to the Conference Center.

I dragged Myron along and we arrived at about 8:00. The usual suspects were already there: Duffbert, Eileen (with "The" notebook attached), Mooney, Mr. & Mrs. Elsmore, Coatsie, Buchan, Matt, and probably a few others I'm missing. Eileen opened the door to Room 3 for me and I went in to set up.

I wasn't nervous as much as I was anxious to get it done in the time allotted. I got my laptop setup and started going through my notes from the night before, getting all my VM's ready. For those who don't know, here is how it was set up:
  • I started with a single Windows Domino 8.0.1 mail server, running in a VM. I also had the Notes client 8.0.1 in this same VM.
  • I pre-installed Ubuntu Hardy Heron and CentOS 5.1 with Domino 8.0.1 in two more VM's, but had not configured them yet
  • During the demo I registered the new servers to create their server docs and id's, configured all the records for them, then brought the new servers online
  • I clustered Windows and Ubuntu
  • I took Windows down and moved it over to CentOS
It was a lot to get done in an hour. So much, in fact, that I don't think I'll attempt it ever again. :-P

I kicked off the session a couple of minutes after 9, and and after a few initial jitters I think it went very well. I only made a couple of slip-ups, such as not checking to see if AdminP had created some replicas before I ended the server, and not updating my hosts files with the new IP after I moved the server over. I recovered from those, though, and managed to barely finish in an hour.

Myron took this while I was getting ready. Yes, I'm reading the help on decommissioning a server and I'm wearing a really loud shirt with macaws all over it.

After my session was over things were a bit of a blur. I got some good feedback, but I'm worried that I covered so much at such a high level that it wasn't as useful as it could have been. I want to thank Gabriella Davis for agreeing to sit in the front row to coach me when I really messed up. I joked that I was going to introduce her, then say she was there in case I fainted, vomited, or started crying. Which I actually did say, so I made good on that. But I didn't do any of the other things.

So at the end of the day I accomplished everything in my agenda, all in an hour. I'm just questioning whether it was really worthwhile. It would be a slick demo from a marketing perspective, but I'm not so sure it's really effective as a session at a conference.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

ILUG 2008 Day 1: Wednesday

Myron headed off for the zoo today so I didn't have a camera. The day started with Paul Mooney, Nick Shelness and Alan Lepofsky doing the keynote. Paul welcomed everyone to Ireland, insulted developers and threatened the lives of end users. Nick brought up a presentation he used in 1998 about the future of collaboration. It was very interesting that the same issues that were at the forefront in 1998 are still the main issues today: indexing and accessing content. Alan went on a Twitter / social networking bent that was interesting, but I'm still not convinced of the utility of this in the SMB space. That's all I work with (by choice), so I don't particularly care what the multi-thousand companies want or need. If you're so big you need software to root through everyone's tagged websites to figure out who knows something, you might want to consider changing your internal divisional communications.

I spent the remainder of the day working on my own presentation. At this point I still had not gotten all the parts of the demo working, but I did have an outline. I worked on finishing up the slides and Gabriella Davis was kind enough to answer some questions between her own issues getting a connection to her servers. (The security at the Conference Center was extremely tight. Nobody could VPN out, which caused some of the presenters a few issues.)

The evening ended with several of us going back to The Bleeding Horse, a pub beside The Camden Court Hotel where many of the attendees stayed.

After dinner we went back to our hotel and I made Myron endure a run-through of my presentation. I got my virtual machines to a ready state, did some snapshots, then went for it. I was close on the time, but I managed to get through it with only a couple of small snags.

ILUG 2008 Day -1: Tuesday

We got up this morning and did a bus trip to Powerscourt Estate. While waiting for the bus we stopped in Marks & Spencer for a bit of breakfast, then sat on a bench and watched the world go by. I just have one thing to say: I'm glad I didn't drive in Dublin.

The trip to Powerscourt was uneventful. The driver talked almost nonstop and was full of information that I've forgotten now. There were a couple of ladies seated behind us who insisted on talking to each other for the 90 minutes of the bus ride. I was thankful for a break in the seaside town of Bray just so I could away from their incessant jabbering.

Powerscourt Estate was absolutely amazing. The house is beautiful and the gardens are stunning. If you get a chance to go, go!

After that trip we went back to our hotel, dropped off some stuff, then set out to find the Griffith Conference Center. For anyone who hasn't been to Dublin, there are two key things you need to know: manh streets change names every block, and there are rarely any street signs. You pretty much just have to aim in a direction and carry multiple maps so you can cross-reference where you might be.

When we finally found the Conference Center we came across a group of ILUG'ers sitting on the outside patio, marvelling at the bright ball in the sky. We had to explain it was called the "sun", and provides warmth to the whole Earth. The people from the UK and Ireland seemed impressed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

more ILUG posts to come soon

I've been sick this week (culminating with spending most of today in bed), and extremely busy getting my presentation together, so I apologize for the lack of posts. I'm flying out in the morning and should catch up on everything on Sunday. Until then, feel free to wander through my Flickr album for ILUG and Dublin. I need to rework it a bit and split out the things that aren't specifically ILUG, but you'll get a pretty good idea of what we have been doing.

ILUG 2008: Day -2 (Monday)

We flew in Sunday and stayed up until midnight local time, which was only 7PM for us. But that meant we had been up since 8AM Saturday, making it nearly 36 hours. Consequently, we managed to ignore all our wakeup calls and alarms and finally rolled out of bed at nearly 11:40 AM. We originally planned to do a bus tour to Powerscourt, a castle with wonderful gardens about two hours from Dublin. Instead I opted to do the responsible thing and stayed at the hotel working on my presentation while Myron headed off for the Bloom festival.

Later that evening we went to dinner with Jamie, Bob Balaban and Bob's daughter Samantha. We had a wonderful meal at Gallagher's Boxty House, then strolled back to our respective hotels.

Jamie, Bob, Samantha, Charles and Myron

ILUG 2008: Day -3 (Sunday)

Our room at the Fitzwilliam HotelTravel delays plagued us all day Saturday, but we did finally arrive in Dublin only about 90 minutes late. We took a bus to our hotel, the Fitzwilliam on St. Stephen's Green at the end of Grafton Street. The hotel is 5-star and listed by Conde Nast as one of the top 20 coolest hotels in the world. Myron found a deal on Skyauction and got the room for $180 US per night. The regular rate is $505 US.

Magpie and chimney pots in downtown DublinWhen we finally got settled in I decided to get in touch with Jamie Magee, who had flown in on Sunday as well. It was also an opportunity to find the Camden Court Hotel, which is where a lot of attendees would be staying. Finding the hotel was relatively easy, and when I called Jamie's room I accidentally woke him up. We decided that Myron and I would get lunch while Jamie got his beauty rest, then the three of us would go to the Guinness tour.

We had a great lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, came back and collected Jamie, then were on our way to Guinness. Along the way we got turned around a few times since Dublin has very poorly marked streets, and street names change every block.

Me and Jamie at the Gravity BarThe Guinness tour wasn't really that interesting to me. We had been to the Bass Brewery tour, which gives you a much better idea of how beer is actually made. Guinness' approach was all about "we're better than everyone" "everyone wants to copy us" "you're stupid if you don't like Guinness". Once you got beyond the preachy rhetoric, the sections on merchandising were wonderful. It was fun to see how Guinness was marketed throughout the years.

After that it was a stroll back to our hotels, then out for dinner.

An interesting shop on Grafton StreetPart of the old Dublin city wall