OS Quest Trail Log #59: Spring Is Here Edition

This month on the OS Quest has been another light one. Mainly revolving around the upcoming release of Windows Home Server 2011.

springWinter didn’t leave without a fight, dropping a coating of snow on the first full day of Spring and being unseasonable cold since then. Between working the day job and getting outside to shake off the cabin fever now that the weather is better has kept things slow on the quest. The list of things I want to do is growing rather than shrinking. Still, there has been progress.

Windows Home Server

I resurrected Windows Home Server and flattened my Ubuntu Home Server box. I’m not unhappy with Windows Home Server 2011 but performance hasn’t been up to the levels I saw with Ubuntu. It’s not so much that peak performance is lower, it’s that the performance is inconsistent. Granted, it is pre-release software and I have had RAID issues, so I can’t point fingers with certainty. On the software side I have looked at a couple Windows Home Server 2011 Add-Ins for backup.

Microsoft has said that that Windows Server 2011 has been finalized and will start appearing in early April. So once that happens I’ll rebuild the server with the final release and get a better idea about performance.

Still, don’t be shocked if I wake up one Saturday and decide to switch back to Ubuntu.

iPad 2 – Not For Me, At Least Not Yet

Apple’s iPad 2 was released and I admit to being shocked with all the attention it received. I have the iPad 1, use it daily, and love it. But I’m at a loss to understand why the new version seems to exceed the first once popularity by so much.

Basically the new version is slimmer/lighter, faster and with cameras. The first two are the features I’d be most interested in but I’d have to see and touch it to decide if it’s worth it. Which is one reason I’ve avoided stopping in the Apple store, to avoid the impulse to buy. Whether it’s easier to hold for extended periods of time is hard for me to tell by just reading the specs. As for speed, it’s likely to be more noticeable with apps that are still on the drawing board. I have a couple apps that are slow (Bento) but from what I’ve seen apps may or may not benefit from two cores so it’s hard to tell.


Naturally, there’s been some frustrations over the past month.

I’m a fan of Windows Live Mesh to sync files between m,y computers, including Macs. Maybe it’s more coincidence than cause, but my Mesh has stopped working on my two OS X Leopard Macs but continues to work on my two Snow Leopard Macs. Those are older Macs which have continued to work fine for what little they’re used for so I never upgraded. Maybe it’s time.

Also in the category of minor annoyances – I use a hot swap drive on my Windows 7 machine so I can easily copy files to various external drives. Last week the machine decided that whenever I swapped drives it would drop the DVD drive until I rebooted. Hard to say when it started because until recently the DVD received little use, so maybe some update triggered it. Since then the problem has become less frequent

News & Links Of Interest

I’m not a fan of Drobo, finding my own Drobo serviceable but relatively slow and finicky at times. Ars Technica has run the first part of what will be a two part review of the Drobo FS. This is shaping up to be a the most comprehensive Drobo review I’ve seen. My own experience makes it extremely unlikely I’ll buy a replacement no matter what they say but if your considering a Drobo it would be worth a read. I can’t argue with the statement that Drobo rivals the now obsolete drive pool in Windows Home Server for ease of use. If ease of use tops your requirements then ignore me, check out the Ars’ review and consider Drobo.

It’s probably more the irony that gets it in the news, but The Register is reporting cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in security software vendor McAfee’s website.

Amazon launched their “Cloud Locker” music service and beats Apple & Google to the punch. But managed to do it by skipping any agreement with the music labels. Seems to have potential, unfortunately most of my music is not supported by their player (Apple Loseless and ogg vorbis), Oh well, I can still upload the files for safe keeping and I do have some mp3 and regular aac formatted files. The music player seems to be the only way to upload files in bulk, so only supported formats, but I suspect there will be work a around or two in  a matter of days. Five GB of free space is a tempting target and it does seem to be a nice differentiator for Amazon.

Apple’s hardware-free WWDC has brought forth rumors that iPhone 5 will be “delayed” (not really sure how something that isn’t announced can be delayed). If true, makes my Verizon iPhone 4 purchase instead of waiting seem downright smart. I can’t claim I expected a delay (I didn’t, but decided to buy anyway, planning to skip 5), but I don’t mind looking smart.

There was a story that Samsung installed a rootkit on their laptops a-la Sony BMG rootkit, but direct from the manufacturer this time. If true it’s incredibly stupid and would make me avoid Samsung products. Why do manufacturers think they have free reign to surreptitiously collect information about their users? The rootkit is a key logger capable of collecting IDs and passwords. What could go wrong?

So this wraps up what has been the third light month this year on the quest.