Just before my Windows Home Server crashed I had installed the Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 Release Candidate. As Ed points out it's not a public beta and in the hands only a few people who have ben testing Windows Home Server heavily.
My plan was to exactly test the new server backup functionality. Alas the unreliable Maxtor drive caused the whole thing to come down and the WD drive just is not good enough.
But let's look at the good side: the server is up again, now with 100% Seagate storage and working well. I managed to talk to the store where I bought the WD drive and I am able to return it - in which case I will get anothe Seagate drive and use it as the server backup.
This new feature (screenshot below) allows users to designate a drive to be used as a backup of user content on the Windows Home Server. Even with duplication you may have problems - what happens if the server is stolen or the house burns down?
With server backup you will be able to copy the files to an external unit and take it away with you or have it on a secure location.
Another new feature in the Windwos Home Power Pack 1 is the support for Windows Vista 64 bit. The original Windows Home Server did not have a Connector for that OS, but now users will have this option.
Upload and download of files to the home server is now easier when using a web browser. Also when downloading files you have the option of downloading multiple files in ZIP format or on a new self extracting format.
I still find a couple of problems though, mainly the Path Too Deep errors that happen when a very large file (more than 4 GB) is copied to the shared folders within the server itself (files copied from other PCs on the network are fine).
I don't know when the Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 is being released but it is already in the Release Candidate stages, so it should be soon.
But technology failed me, horriby.
First the Maxtor OneTouch 1TB drive died - again. I bought the original Maxtor OneTouch 1TB drive in April 2006. Through December 2007 it was replaced twice because of failures. This time it is out of warranty and I am not ever going back to a Maxtor now. Three units failures in less than two years?
Because of this my Windows Home Server died. I had the Duplication option set but it seems the Maxtor crash was too much and I had to reinstall Windows Home Server from scratch. Which was a bit of pain because it didn't like the first HDD already partitioned. The solution was to get a Windows Server install DVD and use it to delete the partitions and start the install again.
To replace the Maxtor I bought a WD MyBook 750GB. What a bad decision. I should have searched first. This drive goes to sleep when there is no activity and the only way to mount it back is by unplugging it and plugging again. This is not good for a home server. There are lots of reports of this problem and Western Digital seems not to respond support requests.
The end result? Windows Home Server noticed the drive "unplugged" and couldn't remove it without a reboot.
Now I am using this drive as a backup only. I can't return it because I don't have the original box any more and I found the problem after a few days only because the drive was always up while Windows Home Server copied things.
The solution will be to go back to the shop and buy a Seagate Agent. Those drives are perfect. I have a 160GB for my laptop, plus a 500GB and 320GB on my Windows Home Server and they work ok.
As for Windows Vista on my laptop, I scheduled a boot time CHKDSK and Windows Vista wouldn't start up.
I spent Saturday evening reinstalling Windows Vista, Office and the other basic tools I need. Since my Windows Home Server died just before the trip I didn't have all the files available for restore, but luckily I use Carbonite for on-line backup and I am restoring the files from the storage on the cloud.
Also while installing Windows Vista I decided to go for 32 bit this time. I was getting sick and tired of not having 64 bit drivers or having to download different versions of programs - even Microsoft doesn't generate 64 bit applications - there's no Office 64 bit and Windows Home Server doesn't currently have a 64 bit connector.
So this is how I spent the last three days of my holidays...
I agree with Zoli's comments:
"The Land of Oz is already in 2008. Too bad they ring in the new year with a controversy over government censorship. Good intentions aside, letting Big Brother grow on people is never a good idea. Governments can not, and should not take over the family’s responsibility. It’s a slippery road… governments by their very nature tend to expand: porn filtering today, political views tomorrow - we know where it leads.
If you are a parent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, YOU (and not the government) have the joy and responsibility of bringing the children to a safe and better world."
A dubious filter today can be turned into a political tool tomorrow. It's dangerous. Don't let this monster come in sneakily.
Have a good 2008.
I will close comments here about the 5th January 2008... Let's see if any old timers will know this.
The program will be released soon - just follow the countdown at There Is No Place Like Home - but if you want to see some action, check the Flickr and the YouTube pages with some images and footage.
Just about time too. I think we desperately need an update in the user interface. Spb Mobile Shell is good but still looks "old" fashion. I wonder how well this works with devices such as HTC Touch?
I remember using Netscape since its first version on a Windows 3.1 environment, with Trumpet Winsock.
For nostalgic people AOL suggests downloading the Mozilla Firefox and add the Netscape theme.
I will still be connected via e-mail, but we will probably have less posts here in my blog or on Geekzone. Of course if something big comes up we will write about it, but you should just assume we are now all in holiday mode.
All the best, keep the discussion going in our Geekzone forums if you must (I will reply there too and I've seen in the last five years that things never really stopped). Or just join the Geekzone Chat because we always have people around there.
See you all again soon!
Just after my blog post I met the NZOSS President Don Christie during a event here in Wellington, and he told me I was in the wrong side of the fence on this one. But we agreed that we have to find a side and stick with it anyway...
Since then Standards New Zealand decided to cast NO to the OpenXML standard, but Standards New Zealand has created an advisory group to meet for five days in Geneva to discuss concerns raised during the voting. The participants in this group are Internet NZ, NZ Open Source Society (technical), NZ Open Source Society (strategist), IBM NZ, Microsoft NZ, Microsoft NZ partner, Archives New Zealand, State Services Commission and the NZ Computer Society.
Now I have received a copy of a document written by CompTIA's Michael Mudd, and I am reproducing the document here because it pretty much reflects my way of thinking on this matter.
The CompTIA is a global trade association representing the business interests of the information technology industry. For more than 25 years CompTIA has provided research, networking and partnering opportunities to its 20,000 plus members in 102 countries. The association is involved in developing standards and best practices, and influencing the political, economic and educational arenas that impact IT worldwide.
Future-proofing IT Policy – is it possible, or desirable?
By Michael Mudd
I imagine you’re enjoying this article on your Kenbak-2000 personal computer, or secretly wishing you were the richest man in the world, John Blankenbaker. This easily could have been the case if in 1971 the Kenbak-1, subsequently considered by the Computer History Museum as the world’s first ‘personal computer (PC),’ had been recognized as the sole standard for the future development of the PC.
Think; no 1977 Trinity (Apple II, TRS-80, and Commodore PET) or IBM 5150 in 1981, which arguably set the scene for the entire PC era, making household names of previously niche players such as Intel and Microsoft. Thankfully, while certain patents were awarded to the Kenbak-1, we can thank IT industry policy-makers of the time for seeing how much more innovation and invention was left in the PC industry. Even more importantly the market needed more time to reward the companies who were delivering systems that could best meet their needs. This ability to create an environment where innovation flourished, while intellectual property was still credited and protected means that today nearly two billion PCs have been sold, versus the 40 Kenbak-1 PCs that made it off the production line.
The ability to allow continuous market-driven innovation, rather than creating standards and policies based on an early view of what the world of tomorrow might look like is central to business success – it means that you’re not deciphering this article from Morse code, or driving to work in a Model-T Ford.
Why is Innovation Important - Open Innovation versus Closed Innovation
The advent of the Internet has fundamentally changed the way the businesses define business models and harness innovation. Henry Chesbrough in his book “Open Innovation, the New Imperative for Creating Profit from Technology” refers to the time before and after the Internet, as ‘Closed Innovation’ and ‘Open Innovation,’ respectively.
Before the wide adoption of the Internet, innovation used to be a closed process, undertaken with a silo-mentality. Business leaders used to think that to profit from research and development that, like John Blankenbaker, they had to be first to market. They would have to directly hire people to make discoveries, develop and market the discoveries themselves and then use tools such as patents to control this intellectual property so that competitors could not share in the spoils.
Chesbrough notes that today’s Internet-powered competitive business landscape makes closed innovation increasing hard to achieve. Incredibly fluid employee availability and mobility, the proliferation of small market-driven technology businesses (e.g. today small businesses accounted for over 99 per cent of all businesses), outsourcing, off shoring and the proliferation of new market-driven sources of innovation means that with great product choice and faster innovation cycles that customers increasingly want product interoperability, rather than a rigid, pre-defined single-standard.
Document Standards – Why Should Businesses Care?
There is an interoperability versus single-standard debate raging at the moment, which has a direct impact on business – should the Open Document Format (ODF) be the sole standard for business documents, or should Office Open XML (OOXML) also be allowed a choice for businesses and document users?
Data formats have been around as long as computing. They reflect the varying capabilities and functions of different computing systems and have evolved as those computing systems have evolved. Punch cards were once commonplace, but you wouldn’t think to use them today. In the decades since their use, a wide range of formats (TXT, PDF, HTML, and DOC, to name a few) have become popular because they meet specific user needs and tap into new computing capabilities.
Two years ago Microsoft submitted Office Open XML to Ecma International, an international association founded in 1961 and dedicated to the standardization of information, to go through the process to make it an open standard. A growing list of companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Novell, Xandros, Linspire, TurboLinux, Corel and Dataviz recognized the desire of users of their software to work with multiple formats and are giving those users the tools they need to do so. However, despite industry belief that customers would be happy to choose, there is a chance in March next year that some national body members of the ISO may not approve OOXML as a document standard. In a preliminary vote last September, 51 national bodes voted yes, but under the consensus system of the ISO this was insufficient.
We should expect the creation of new formats in the future as technology evolves (e.g. Uniform Office Format, or UOF, under development in China, also a group of former ODF supporters have broken away from the ODF standard and are now promoting another document format standard called CDF), and as has always been the case, users should be able to choose the formats that work best for them, especially if they are fundamentally different formats that meet different needs in the marketplace, as is the case here.
OOXML sceptics argue that OOXML contains Microsoft-specific legacy formats which can cause interoperability problems, and will serve only to strengthen Microsoft's domination in the office productivity software market. OOXML is already being used in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, making it easier for people to use the software suite that creates the vast majority of the world’s business document to create and share documents, regardless of the platform or application.
Customers who want to work with multiple formats can do so now and into the future through the use of tools called ‘connectors.’ However, the simple fact is that OOXML should be agreed as an interoperable standard along with ODF (and whatever other standards meet the criteria) to allow the market to choose which one they will use to achieve what they need with their business documents.
Standards and policy – when the market decides, we all win!
Suppose Charles H. Duell, Director of the U.S. Patent Office had shut it down following his 1899 proclamation that ‘everything that can be invented, has been invented.” When people take a narrow view of what is achievable through technology, innovation is the inevitable collateral damage – especially dangerous at a time when the governments of Asia are looking to ICT as a major value-add to economic outputs and creating jobs.
I recently attended a meeting in Malaysia where there was a clear statement from the Honourable Dato Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis, Malaysia’s Minister of Schience, Technology and Innovation, that the country should adopt an open innovation model and that this should be market driven. CompTIA supports industry standards and strongly believes that standards such as OOXML are good for any countries in the region that want to pursue Open Innovation approaches. I’m not necessarily saying that the market would choose to use OOXML, but the market needs the opportunity to decide, otherwise we could be building an environment that stifles, rather than encourages innovation.
If Mr. Duell had done that in 1899, I might still be wearing a fashionable Victorian knee length frock coat and a top hat.
Michael Mudd, Director of Public Policy, Asia-Pacific, CompTIA.
Mike Mudd is the Director of Public Policy for Asia Pacific and has responsibility for running CompTIA’s Public Policy initiatives for the region encompassing Japan to Australia and China and India. This region, home to half the worlds population is also amongst the most dynamic and challenging for the ICT industry in the 21st century.
I agree with its basis that a standard doesn't need to be a single unique entity, but it can be multiple agreed codes.
For full disclosure I must inform you that I found this document with the help of Microsoft New Zealand. Of course if the NZOSS or any other commenter wants to send me something similar I am happy to write about it too. Or just comment below.
So here is the invitation in its original form:
You are invited to apply to the worldwide Technium Challenge organised by International Business Wales (IBW - http://www.ibwales.com/) and Technium UK.
The Technium Challenge (http://www.technium.co.uk/) is a unique business planning competition that helps winners expand overseas. It is targeted to smart Kiwi SME technology companies looking to launch into UK, European and other international markets.
Entering the Technium Challenge will give you the opportunity to take your next step on the global stage. If you’re ready to accelerate your plans to set up a UK sales and marketing office or work with UK partners and distributors to deliver your offerings to more customers, begin with the Technium Challenge.
Winners will receive a host of benefits including:
- free UK office space for a year within a Technium Innovation centre and an intense international arrival support package;
- on-going guidance and support for developing an international business plan;
- the New Zealand finalist will be taken on a Learning Journey to Wales where they will be introduced to like-minded companies, advanced business networks and leading researchers in their field.
Application is simple. You are invited to submit an executive summary of your Company’s business plan to Rhodri Jones (IBW) – the closing date for entries is 5 p.m. Friday 28 March 2008.
Applicants who qualify will receive help in developing an international business plan, which will need to be submitted to the judging panel by Friday 4 April. You will then briefly present your business plan to New Zealand judges Rod Oram (leading Business Commentator) and Chris Jones (CEO, Mobilis Networks and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year) in April.
The New Zealand finalist will then make their way to Cardiff in May for their ‘Learning Journey to Wales’ and to compete against other country finalists in the final leg of the competition.
So, are you ready for the challenge?