Oktoberfest

This afternoon, Clara and I met with our family friends in Normanhurst for a belated Oktoberfest celebration. Real beer, amazing home cooked German food, and the warmest, nicest people I know. Sydney also did its bit with stunningly beautiful weather, a nice change from what we had yesterday!

On account of my dad's job, we never spent more than few years in the same house, and rarely in the same city. Growing up, Elke and I clung to whatever stability we could find. Throughout the years, we knew that whenever we came back to Sydney to visit, Bem and Erna Adolphs would be there with open arms in their beautiful home.

I have memories of climbing their trees, of the room where their youngest daughter (my age) and sister would dress up to put on plays for the parents. The artwork, their backyard, that impenetrable hallway that seemed a little smaller each time I went back. Mostly though, I remember the people.

It got me thinking about what memories with friends I'm forming here now. My dad met the Adolphs while he was studying in Germany in the 1970s. If I ever have kids, will they remember the friends I made while I was studying here?

Food for thought. Gute Nacht~


Bowie and Jagger Dancing in the Street

I couldn't tell you how many times I've watched this cover over the years, and I still can't even.


The 27 inch Retina iMac

I've come to accept that I develop odd affinities for my electronics. I tend to use the same devices till they either completely fall apart, or when something really game changing appears. They're my primary creative outlets, and I love them.

This 27 inch (68.6cm!) Retina iMac is a qualifying game changing device.

Since the iPhone 4, Retina screen fans have waited with baited breath for this theorised Apple desktop that could give us the same font clarity and photographic detail in a large display. Retina screens are achingly beautiful, and I'm absolutely pedantic enough to appreciate every tiny detail. If you're not, well, what can I say.

The new Mac Pro gave us the first glimmer of hope of a Retina desktop. I pictured my ideal setup of a modestly spec'd Mac Pro and a ViewSonic 3840x2400 display, but a quick look at a release timeframe and the expected cost would bring me down to earth.

With a Retina iMac, we could bump the specs up and still be cheaper than the Mac Pro alone, let alone one with a separate Retina display. It also has the benefit of existing as a solution, today.

Stock Mine Final Price
Core i5 Core i7 $3300
Radeon R9 M290X 2GB Radeon R9 M295X 4GB $3600
1TB Fusion Drive 256GiB SSD "
Magic Mouse ... Kensington Trackball? "

I'd likely be fine with the base specs, but the 4.0GHz i7 looks to be an amazing CPU. I'd also prefer to throw as much grunt behind such a gargantuan display as I could. If I had to compromise, I'd probably stick with the i5 with the 4GiB GPU. The SSD is the same price as a Fusion Drive, and I've got enough storage in my NASs (NASii?).

Now with its unbuffered consumer grade parts, the Retina iMac is no Mac Pro replacement. But for those of us looking for a Retina desktop, this is what we've been waiting for. It may even be enough for me to give up my own rule of never buying version 1 Apple devices.

Now all it needs is a handle, so I could ferry it between home and the office.


Brand New Music, with Ben Sidran

In our continuing series of song posts from Ben Sidran's 2013 album Don't Cry For No Hipster, we learn about the dangers of high performance cars in Brand New Music:

So how's that new car working out for you?
I hear you got it in baby blue

I like this guy's taste. But here comes the caution.

Got all the girls hooglin' after you...
But.. so are the gangsters and the police too.

With a car like that, what could possibly go wrong?
Brand new music... same old song.

Of course, this isn't limited to vehicular conveyances.

So how's that new job working out for you?
I understand you buyin' money and sellin' money too

With a job like that, what could possibly go wrong?
Brand new music... same old song.

Grab from Amazon, watch on YouTube.

Other tracks: #01


Sophos Security Gateway on Xen

A couple of Sophos hardware gateways

It's good to be back. Had a really terrible stomach flu thing, was out of action for a week. Lots of electrolytes and less solid foods. But that's not what you tuned in for.

The Sophos Security Gateway (formerly of Astaro fame) comes with a VMware Virtual Appliance. If you want to install on Xen (or another hypervisor) they suggest you can use their regular Software Appliance ISO:

Any other virtualization platforms such as Xen, Hyper-V, KVM, etc. that can boot up from an .iso should operate just fine as well. (Some platforms may not have full support for networking drivers, tools, or time keeping.)

The North American convention of putting full stops inside brackets is just crazymaking. But I digress; if you can, install with Xen using the virtual optical drive. If you're attempting a bootstrap on a cloud platform (or via USB key), you can first create a hybrid bootable image from the ISO and dd across:

# isohybrid asg-9[x].iso
# dcfldd if=asg-9[x].iso of=/dev/xvda[x]

Unfortunately, this creates a small problem. The installer will boot, but when it gets to the file extraction stage it won't find the installer files:

Install.tar wasn't found on the installation mirror

This likely happens because it can't mount the optical drive as it expects. You can confirm this by dropping to a shell with [ALT]+[F2] and listing the install mountpoint.

# ls /install
# ==> crickets

Fortunately we're dealing with Linux, so its relatively easy to mount the installer volume manually. It'll be different depending on your environment, but if you imaged to a second Xen drive:

# mount /dev/xvda2 /install

Then hit [ALT]+[F2] and proceed as normal. Again depending on your environment, you may even see this:

Extra RPMs are installed for improved Xen HVM support.

Boom!