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<< 9 / 2010 11 / 2010 >>

Two nice tools for my daily workflow

2010-10-24 09:42:00

Evernote + EgretList

A month or so ago I started using Evernote, which could be described as a digital scrapbook-meets-notebook-meets-filestorage. The application and its basic use are free and available cross-platform, with a very nice web interface and client software for Mac OS X, Windows, iPhone OS, Blackberry and a few others. Anything that you add to your Evernote storage gets synchronized to all of your devices automatically. This means that the notes I took during my CISSP class were synced to my iPhone and that the web clippings I made at home can also be read online. And so on. It really is a nice service and there's no beating the price!

Evernote also have a paid service, which adds extra functionality to your account. Your file storage space gets increased, the search function indexes any PDFs you store and your mobile Evernote client will be able to store all of your notebooks locally (instead of accessing them through Wifi or 3G). At $45 a year I wouldn't say the value's bad. So far Evernote's been very, very helpful to me.

Helpful how? Well, currently I have two distinct workflows I rely on heavily. On the one hand there's my studies for my CISSP exam and my security research. On the other hand there's my preparations for the BoKS course I will be teaching in a week. Since Evernote allows me to create multiple scrapbooks, it's a cinch to grab any Wiki pages I like, as well as any security PDFs and store them together with my CISSP class notes and my ToDo list. Similarly, for the training I have an easy ToDo list, many notes from teleconf phone calls and suggestions for new exam questions. All neatly taggable, searchable and editable. 

Speaking of ToDo lists: I have combined my Evernote account with the stunningly beautiful EgretList iPhone app. EgretList logs into your Evernote account and searches all your notes for any and all (un)finished ToDo items. These ToDo items are sorted by their Evernote categories and notebooks and presented as a faux Moleskine notebook. So instead of having to search through many different Evernote notes to check/unckeck a ToDo item, you can easily do it through EgretList. Lovely :) tags: , , ,

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Holy crap Apple! Way to up the bar!

2010-10-20 20:48:00

The new Macbook Air

Wow. Just, wow. 

Tonight Steve Jobs got on stage and, among many other nice things, announced the new Macbook Air range for 2010. I was going "Nice, nice..." while he was going down the spec list, then I went "WHOA HOLY SH!T!!!" when he announced the price point: $999 for the base model which has an 11.6" screen and weighs in at -literally- one kilogram. 

Yeah. The next business laptop I'm getting? It's -that- one. If I ever need on-the-road virtualization I'll just run the VMs at home and access them through remote desktop.


Ah! And here is the iFixit tear-down of the new MBA tags: , ,

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How to slow down your file copies

2010-10-19 22:49:00

While preparing for a course I will be teaching in two weeks time I need to set up some virtual machines for the practice labs. All of these run on Sun's VirtualBox and FoxT has provided me with a USB disk filled with the appropriate disk images. I bought two extra USB drives, so we could set up the student's computers faster (three drives instead of one to pass around the files). 

But that's where the crap starts. You see, if I'm not mistaken all the students will use Windows boxen. I have a Mac. All the virtual machine disk images are big, between 10GB and 22GB. 

Now, the only file system that is 100% read+write out of the box between Windows and Mac OS X is the aged FAT32. And no, FAT32 does not support any files over 4GB in size. Crap :(

This means that:

  1. I have formatted my extra USB drives as NTFS, using Windows XP running in a Parallels virtual machine.
  2. I have installed MacFUSE and NTFS-3G on my Mac, to enable it to write to NTFS.
  3. I am now copying 200GB of disk images from one USB drive to the other.

Because USB is CPU-bound and because the NTFS-3G driver is experimental this ordeal constantly takes up 27% of my 200% CPU time (dual core) and the actual copy will take roughly four hours. Damn!

I think I'll quit the copy and be more selective about the disk images that I copy. :) tags: , , ,

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