Unexpected: OSX on a Polycom VVX-600

vvx-600-with-OSX-320pxA Polycom VVX-600 is my primary desk phone. It has been since its launch demoted the VVX-500 to a lesser role. Both are great phones, but I find the larger touch screen of the 600 model better for both my eyes and fingers. One of the things that keeps the Polycom phone on my desk is its ability to conveniently record calls to a USB memory stick. It’s a capability that I’d find difficult to give up.

On the other hand, in my daily routine I find that I don’t use USB memory stick very often anymore. I have a couple hanging around, but not the little stash that once graced my computer bag. So, occasionally, when I’m in a hurry, I pull the SanDisk Cruzer that lives plugged into the back of the VVX and use it to sneakernet a few files from here to there.

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Now Over HTTPS Courtesy of Lightningbase & Let’s Encrypt

It wasn’t that long ago that I reminded you of how much I admire Lightningbase. Here’s just one more reason why these guys rock. Lightningbase has recently made it very easy to deploy SSL for WordPress sites by integrating Let’s Encrypt.

Lightningbase founder Chris Piepho announced the effort in a blog post. Since I’ve wanted to use SSL for a while, but not had the time to work through the details, I took the new offer as a sign that I should go ahead with the implementation.

I must say that I was floored by how easy this was! The entire process of getting this domain running on SSL took me less than 15 minutes.

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Compulab Airtop: The strong, silent type of desktop computer

airtop-isometry-cutout-300pxI can’t really explain it, but fanless, small form-factor computers have always held a lot of appeal. Over the years I’ve twice selected SFF models as my desktop. Compulab, and Israeli company, has consistently offered very interesting SFF platforms, including the Fit-PC and Intense PC Series.

I bought an original Fit-PC simply because it was interesting and relatively affordable. However, novel as it was, Fit-PC was destined for industrial and signage applications. With hardware common to a netbook it simply didn’t have the grunt to be more than a plaything. While the Intense PC models were more powerful, they were also considerably more expensive than a traditional SFF desktop. I admired them from afar.

This week Compulab noted that they are beginning to produce their newest model, the Airtop-PC. It looks like their most innovative design yet.

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Desktop Storage: SSD vs Magnetic Hard Drive

HP Pavilion HPE H8 Desktop PC & Seagate DiskIt has been said that you have to sometimes look back to see how far you’ve come. A little over a week ago the traditional hard drive in my desktop computer started to fail. The BIOS reported a SMART alarm indicating imminent disk failure.

While this HP desktop was a good deal when it was purchased, the 1.5TB Seagate hard drive, spinning at just 5400 RPM, was part of what motivated the addition of the 256 GB SSD as the boot volume. The traditional hard drive was only for user data.

Despite the alarm state, the system seemed to be running fine. I ordered a 1 TB WD Black hard drive from Amazon. In making the choice of the WD Black I looked around online for research on hard drive reliability. I found a blog post by Backblaze, a company that provides online backup. They have consistently found Seagate drives to be the most failure prone. As a huge user of hard drives, it’s great that they make their data public.

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The Dead Disk Bounce: Does An SSD Get A Second Act?

My desktop PC is just now passing three years old. When it arrived I imaged the factory installed 2 TB hard drive, replacing it with a Crucial m4 256GB SSD for the boot volume. With a small registry tweak the 2 TB drive became home to the user profiles and related files.

The boot time of the computer was improved by the SSD. Since the boot volume was just the OS & apps it was quick & easy to backup by making an image of that volume. The fact that I make routine backups became important recently, when the SSD failed outright.

In this case I had just installed some updated to the OS, when a reboot was required. However, upon rebooting the system could not find the boot volume. 

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The Case For Making A Great Case

HPRC2700-face-300pxIn my past life I schlepped equipment all around North America in the process of giving demonstrations. As the most senior field staff it also fell to me to oversee the acquisition of shipping cases for our demo inventory.

Back then the nature of the gear, and the cost of shipping, drove me to select lightweight cases with layered foam inserts. This accommodated the 3-5 RU server chassis. A 2” thick protective layer of foam on all sides provided adequate protection without undue weight or cost.

Some months ago I was again tasked with creating a shipping case for some gear. This time the gear involved was not a server rack, but a small suite of telecom & network devices for demo use. Since this suite of gear was much smaller & lighter than a server I decided to research if/how I might get a nice custom case manufactured. Everyone involved in the project was delighted with the result, so I though I’d share my experience with the vendor and their process.

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