Monthly Archives: March 2011

Cisco WRVS4400N – Skype blocking will never work

Just a quick update in my continuing experience with the Cisco WRVS4400N. As mentioned previously, I and other users have had problems using the device’s IPS facility to block Skype connections, contrary to its feature set which says it’s supported. After raising a support call with Cisco, I have heard back from a support engineer, and they state “since Skype has changed three times since the release of the WRVS4400N, we will not be able to fix this issue”.

So, if you depend on a router for the effective blocking of Skype use by employees on your network, the WRVS4400N obviously cannot be recommended for this specific feature.

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Bordeaux for OpenIndiana: a commercial Wine implementation

I’ve written before about using Wine to run various old games and Windows apps on non-Windows platforms without the hassle, performance penalty and cost of using a full desktop virtualization application.

I’ve decided to check out (and review!) a commercial Wine offering for .nix platforms called Bordeaux. There are several interesting things about Bordeaux: it’s affordable; the company claims stability for a varied albeit small set of Windows applications (Microsoft Office 2007, Adobe Photoshop CS2, Internet Explorer, VLC media player, etc.); and perhaps most intriguingly, it appears to be the first commercial application out there to recognise OpenIndiana and to offer a distinct OpenIndiana installer accordingly. Promising stuff, so let’s dig into the installation process.

I am performing this on an Intel Q8200 system running OpenIndiana release oi_147.

I checked out a copy of Bordeaux for OpenIndiana from Bordeaux Technology Group’s online store. A few minutes later I was sent a download link: the installer is 103.5MB, and consists of a single shell script with no accompanying documentation. A readme with the latest release notes and the installation procedure here would be useful, even just a mirror to what is found on their website.

After making the installation script executable, I ran it and immediately had a problem. The script apparently uses GNU tar, and on my system /usr/bin is first in my PATH, not /usr/gnu/bin. Altering my PATH so that GNU utilities are looked at first allowed the installation script to proceed.

Post-install, I noticed that the Bordeaux directory and contents created at /opt/bordeaux were owned by a non-existent 101 user (no such user on my system). Again, a manual change in ownership was required here.

Other than that, Bordeaux application entries were created in GNOME, and selecting a Windows application installation command gave me an instant idea of what the supported applications are (below).

Bordeaux Installed on OpenIndiana

Bordeaux supported applications

Next step is to try out a few of the supported Windows apps. Stay tuned.

Openfire 3.7.0 is out

Finally, news arrives of the latest long-awaited release of the greatest XMPP server out there:

http://community.igniterealtime.org/blogs/ignite/2011/03/02/openfire-370-has-been-released

I believe this is the first full release of the application that has been entirely the product of the surrounding community, ever since Jive Software sadly decided to ditch their involvement in it.

Nice list of new features and fixes here, and great to see they still offer a Solaris installer – which, needless to say, I’ll be trying out on OpenIndiana first.

WRVS4400N – more impressions, and Cisco tech support

I recently blogged my first impressions of a SOHO security router I am evaluating, the Cisco WRVS4400N.

It’s a seemingly neat product at a great price, but it does have some problems, mostly fairly minor. In the process of working through these issues, I have been acquainting myself with the various support channels Cisco offer for their small business products.

Cisco run a small business support community forum (based on Jive Software). I’ve found that it’s apparently not at all unusual to have fairly reasonable queries go completely unanswered for days and days – in one case, not at all (at the time of writing). My question about Mac OS support for Quick VPN for example was apparently ignored by Cisco support personnel frequenting the forums – whereas all it would have taken would have been a brief confirmation message (“yes it’s planned/possible” or “no it’s not”), or perhaps a pointer to the eventual solution which I located myself on the very same section of their site, helpfully contributed by a non-Cisco forumite.

Another recent query I made online regarded the apparent failure of the device’s IPS facility to detect and block Skype connections. My posting on this (in response to someone else who had in fact managed to elicit a response from Cisco a few months back on the same issue), went ignored too.

I’d assumed (given the low price of the router) that “official” tech support would cost extra, but as it turns out, it comes with a full 12 months of telephone support. My experience with this was the complete opposite of the forums; no hold time at all, and within moments I was connected to a friendly and very helpful Cisco staffer based in North America. Within five minutes I had a satisfactory answer to my query (yes, it is a known issue), and my forum post was updated instantly with the same information and a suggested workaround. Maybe I’ve spent too many hours on the phone to Dell’s tech support, but this really was a pleasant surprise. If this is the level of phone tech support one can expect for Cisco small business products, and it’s offered for a year, then this definitely counts in the product’s favour, in spite of the problems I am personally encountering with it.

Oracle Acquired Innovation: How It Works

Oracle in bizarre Java.net makeover

While pondering over this TechCrunch article with the rather interesting title of Larry Ellison Hearsay: “We Can’t Be Successful if We Don’t Lie to Customers”, I caught wind through Bob Rhubart’s “blog” (which as far as I can tell is more just page after page of other people’s links) of a major redesign of Java.net.

I’m so used to seeing practically all of Oracle’s sites with the same – and let’s be fair here – godawful black/white/red colour scheme (sorry, but their design squad must be from another planet to think this would look any good in a million years), that the use of other colours really threw me. It almost looks designed by a human being, and not by a photocopier. Matter of fact, there’s more than a touch of the old Sun Microsystems here, and a more cynical person perhaps might view this as somewhat deliberate.

Anyway, good work, I guess.

Browse a Time Capsule disk image in the Mac OS Finder

A friend of mine recently acquired an Apple Time Capsule to perform automated wireless backups to using Time Machine from a couple of SOHO Macs. The Time Capsule soon proved its worth when one of the machines went belly-up – we were reasonably secure in the knowledge that the Time Machine/Time Capsule combo had been doing the job of backing data up, but we needed urgent immediate access to certain files on the dead machine’s backup disk image on the Time Capsule itself.

After a bit of looking around, I found a post by a helpful member on Apple’s own support forums with instructions for mounting a Time Capsule disk image in the Finder. It works a treat.

The post may be found here, and the quick version pertaining to a Time Capsule is recreated below. Full credit for this goes to the poster “yschutzer” on the Apple Support forums.

1) Disable Time Machine.

2) Connect to the Time Capsule using the Finder, and locate the relevant .sparsebundle file. The file(s) in question will be named after the machine(s) from which Time Machine was backing up from. Don’t double-click the file itself.

3) Open a Terminal window.

4) Type hdiutil attach -noverify and leave a trailing space: do not press Enter.

5) In the Finder, drag and drop the relevant .sparsebundle file to the Terminal window, which will then automatically fill in its full pathname, for example:

hdiutil attach -noverify /Volumes/Data-1/MyMiniMac_0023e2a145fc.sparsebundle

Hit Enter, and the disk image should then mount in the Finder. Files in the disk image may be browsed and copied. Once done, unmount the disk image in the usual manner, and enable Time Machine.

The only problem I had with this was the Terminal returning “resource temporarily unavailable” errors when attempting to mount the disk image. In short, restarting the Time Capsule resolved this.