Archive for the 'Software' Category

Changed Ping.exe output in Windows Server 2008?


Do I see this right that output of ping.exe has changed for a system that is unreachable between Windows 5.2 (Windows Server 2003) and 6.0 (Windows Server 2008)?

On the older Windows versions pinging a system that is offline would give output such as this:

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Ping statistics for
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

So anyone who is calling ping from a wrapper and parses the output — not saying it’s a great idea — would then probably look for “timed out” or “(100% loss)” to conclude there is a problem. Or finding “(0% loss)” would indicate all is well.

Doing a similar test several times on Windows 2008, the result will look like this after a minute or so:

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from Destination host unreachable.
Reply from Destination host unreachable.
Reply from Destination host unreachable.
Reply from Destination host unreachable.

Ping statistics for
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

See how it has changed? The host is the source machine pinging, not the ping target. The “Request timed out” is gone, the “(100% loss)” is gone, and instead ping returns “(0% loss)” — which previously was only printed out when the target host was indeed reachable.

The ping statistics show full success, counting the “Destination host unreachable” replies as good replies. Interesting!

Any comments? (apart from parsing ping’s output is not a good idea anyway) How is it on Vista and Windows Seven?


OpenSuse 10.3 on Lenovo T60p (FireGL VL5250)


Background: About a year or two ago I replaced all Linux at home with Mac OS X. But since a few months I have a Lenovo T60p from work, which mainly runs Windows XP. It happened that the german c’t magazine recently came with a DVD of OpenSuse 10.3, and one day away from home (and my Macs) in some lonely hotel room I got bored and installed it. Everything worked just fine, but the laptop’s graphic card did not. It is an ATI, and I slightly remembered that they have a closed source driver for Linux, that needs to be installed somehow on top of any distribution that only ships software that is open source.

So my first step was to google for this topic, and I ended up on a page that explains how to install the ATI driver on Suse Linux. I followed Stefan Dirsch’s simple steps and ended up with the ATI driver in version 8.41.7 directly from the ATI Repository. Great. Only it still didn’t work.

Turns out that in the Change Log of the ati-fglrxG01-kmp-… package it is noted that the support for FireGL cards was “temporarily removed” one previous version ago. So what next? I found another page that describes how to install a previous version of the ati driver manually. It explicitly mentioned 8.40.4 but I was not sure for which graphic card that is. When I was browsing the ati pages, I could not find the Mobility VL5250 that I actually have. I selected something similar, and ended up with the version 8.35.5 download. That however is not helpful, as it support up to Xorg 7.1, but not the 7.2 that is in OpenSuse 10.3.

When I selected one of the Radeon cards, I finally found the right download of the ATI driver in version 8.40.4, and then I could follow Vichar Bhatt’s instructions to the end. The display now shows 1680 x 1050 with 16.7 Mio colors. Great. It wasn’t excatly straight forward, but I got it working. Thanks, y’all.

Switching easy with Harmony


I retired my XP laptop some months ago, and still consider myself in the switching-to-Mac process. Not every application is required every day, so some things / topics to investigate just pop up after some time.

Today was such a day, when I had to add a new activity to my Logitech Harmony 525 remote control. Last time I programmed it was on Windows. Turns out that the Harmony application has all the settings web based, and a Mac version is available. It knew who I was when I connected the remote, I added the new activity (playing wii, which requires to switch to another input on the receiver) and finished wondering why not every application could switch so easily.

Well, some do. I keep using the google apps (mail, reader, spreadsheets) from both Macs and PCs. Great new world. Thanks y’all.

Introducing rb-itunes, a cross-platform iTunes API for Ruby


puts ‘Hello World’, it’s very early days … but this little baby of mine now has a name, a home page + project stuff on rubyforge, some documentation and alpha 0.1.2 residing in svn.

The rb-itunes wrapper provides a cross-platform solution to use iTunes in Ruby. If you are a developer currently working on iTunes Ruby scripts with either rb-appscript, rbosa or WIN32OLE, then moving to rb-itunes will give you cross-platform compatibility.

There’s a lot of work to be done before a beta release. So for now, let me know how you like the idea.

USB2 speed tests in Parallels and Boot Camp


In this post I’m documenting my findings of a windows application running in Parallels accessing a USB2 external disk drive. I compared this setup to various other alternative disk locations. I first explain a little bit of the background and the 2 test that I did in each scenario, then show the results and discuss them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ruby script for iTunes on both Windows and Mac OS X


I see people automating complex tasks on their computers by using scripts. Same here, I love it. When it comes to iTunes, we Mac OS X owners are using AppleScript – and the best place to start looking for all sorts of solutions is Doug’s page. For Windows users their iTunes looks the same, but the AppleScript won’t work. Instead, they can use VBscript or JavaScript to accomplish pretty much similar things. However, I think the Mac people are leading in terms of iTunes scripting solutions that are available for download. And I know that Doug gets lots of requests to provide the same functionality for Windows, too.

Now I had a dream. Wouldn’t it be great to use a scripting language that is available both on Windows and Mac OS X, and create cross-platform iTunes scripts? My pick would be Ruby, as I already know that from Rails development. Mac users need rubygems and rbosa, Windows users just need ruby. Then run this here:

if RUBY_PLATFORM.match('darwin')
  require 'rubygems'
  require 'rbosa'
  itunes ='iTunes')
elsif RUBY_PLATFORM.match('mswin')
  require 'win32ole'
  itunes ='iTunes.Application')
  #any other platform that has iTunes? add here...

Works so far! Do you like that???

Think of ruby scripts that can be used by both Windows and Mac users… Think of script developers on both platforms helping each others… Think of Ruby on Rails applications where you can query and tidy your music collection from any browser window in the world…

Nice. I need to reserve some time to digg more into this topic.

Toggle those iTunes remote speakers


Remote Speakers
I like the AirTunes / remote speakers feature for its easy setup and the perfect sync. Also, it’s quite a bit cheaper then a Sonos system for a few rooms. However, I don’t like that Apple forgot to expose the remote speakers functionality in their iTunes API, at least not in the versions 4.6 up to the current 7.0.2. So the only way to switch on or off a particular room is by using a mouse. That’s not what people want who have a Mac mini next to their TV and like to operate it with the remote only.

Martin of CASE Apps just published version 2.0b2 of his excellent Sofa Control application. This version contains some contribution by me in the CoverFlow and iTunes scripts. You can now all toggle those iTunes remote speakers with the remote. Yippee.

Thanks Martin! And I have seen you included me in the script’s credits … I’m honoured.