I’ve got myself an XBox360! I waited for the Elite version to come out here before I bit the bullet… so I now have 1080i gaming on the 42″ flat screen in the lounge 🙂 🙂 🙂

They were released the day before my birthday in the UK – and I figured that turning 30 was a good enough excuse for going for it…. I have to say, I’m VERY impressed all in all, it’s a well joined up process, and moving my gamertag over from the old XBox to the 360 was a doddle (once I remembered all my login details heheh)

One fun thing I’ve found that ties in is that you can get your 360 to blog – it’s all automated, and you can see my consoles’ blog here …. I’ll be intrigued to see how this develops as I game more and play around with the Video Marketplace etc.

So far I have to say that my favourite games are Bioshock and Forza Motorsport 2 – both very different, but excellent in their own ways.

More to come as I delve further into the games etc. If you fancy a game then please feel free to ad me – gamertag is jackeales

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Changes galore….

I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.2.2 and the latest version of Spam Karma as well … so there might be a few bugs that I need to iron out over the next couple of days – everything seems good at the moment – but I’ve not tested everything 🙂

Aside from that, all is good – I’ve finally passed the second part of the upgrade process to MCSE 2003, and I’m trying to get organised to sit my CCNA – but getting motivated to study is tricky…. with the weather being nice and the house being finished – I just want to chill out and relax in the garden….

There’s also the small matter of my impending 30th birthday…. the panic’s starting to kick in now…..

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Day 3 – things are looking up!

It’s improving…. OSPF, EIGRP, RIP – and least we’re covering something “meaningful” at last – I think I might have actually learnt something finally!!

It’s still slow – lots of talk and not a lot of do – but it might be worthwhile by the end of it…. I know that doing it as two course would have been the end of me – let’s put it that way!!

We’ll see how tomorrow goes – and then make a final call on Friday…. the jury’s out for now….


Bootcamp – Day 2


It’s not a lot better…. 25 minutes to “explain” Ping – for fuck’s sake! I’m not really in a suitable frame of mind to discuss the rest of the day – I guess it could have been worse – but it could of been an awful lot better…..

More to follow tomorrow……


CCNA Boot Camp – Day 1….


Colour me unimpressed so far……. a 9:30 start… and by first break at 11 we’d just about got through introductions and associated bullshit…. this included the bombshell that was “we should be finished by 7pm each day…..” the course details talked of 9-5:30, and I figured that 6 wasn’t unreasonable… but 7?!?!?!

Fair enough… I never expected an easy ride – it’s a boot camp for God’s sake…. 9 days compressed into 5 – but I’m on a flight at 7 on Friday… so I’m going to miss the end of the course 🙁  if I’d known, I’d have stayed until Saturday!

As it stands…. we got to 15:10 before anything as complex as “enable mode” was mentioned… so the pace so far… well, isn’t exactly racing along…. by the time we got to naming conventions for ports / slots etc. it was 17:15… and that took 20+ minutes – how fucking much do you want to explain something that simple!?

I don’t think anyone is finding it hard going – if they are, then they probably shouldn’t be on the course if I’m honest 😉


More to follow…. hopefully tomorrow picks up the pace a bit….


Mea Culpa

I know…. it’s boring reading posts from me (assuming I still have a reader….. you there Bobbie?) about how I’ve been a bad boy and not blogged for ages….. well here’s another one – but I kinda have an excuse….

“I’ve been busy” is a kinda lame excuse – but it’s valid this time… I’ve moved teams and house in the last 5 months – not to mention become a 2003 MCSA (I failed the second exam to become an MCSE last Monday… but I have the retake booked..)

Since Becs and I moved in together in our previous house (and especially since we got married,) we’ve been looking for a place to buy together – being a tennant has it’s advantages – but the time was right…. we started looking just after christmas, and found the ideal house in late March – it ticked everything on the “want” list and all of the “would like” list (downstairs loo – check, bigger kitchen – check, garden that faces “the right way” – check, utility room – check, garage / off-road parking – triple-check – 2 car dive & single garage!!)  I’ll post some photo’s once I get back and actually take some of the outside from the front! In the meantime, here’s one of the back of the house about 2 months before it got finished.


It’s a 4 bedroomed detached house – and we’re very happy – thanks for asking!!

As for work and the team move – it’s been on the cards for a little while, and I finally joined the Core IP Transit team about 4 months ago – so I’m now a part of a team responsibile for all of our IP traffic from POP’s in London to CPE / ADSL routers in businesses / homes. We also take responsibility for our MPLS NGN core network in the coming months – so you can imagine what it’s been like for me – I’m a “windows boy” I understand GUI – not Cisco CLI ….. the learning curve has been brutal to say the least. I have an excellent team to work with and ther’s no shortage of dedication and willingness to spread the knowledge – so I’m working long hours and learning a lot – a good combination – but the long hours don’t make Becs all that happy (until pay-day!)

The reason for this post? Well, I’m in London for a CCNA boot-camp to try and ge me up to speed with what I’m meant to be doing day-to-day…. so I’m planning to post something each night about the experience – we shall see…….

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Getting en-tangler-ed…. or where my life is about to vanish into :-)


My new friend dekrazee1 (no link as “commitment” to a blog is a bit too much for her at the moment!) and an old aquaintence Mick have been “good” enough to get me an invite into Tangler and I can feel that it could begin to suck my life away – taking every waking moment – but in a good way 🙂

It’s a chat site – but a bit different to IM or IRC – you can subscribe to conversations and topics – create you own, and generally involve a load of people you’ve never met – an interesting way to get feedback on a website / project / new geek toy / anything else you want opinions on….

I have the ability to invite some friends – I don’t know how many – but leave a comment as to why you should be invited to this very interesting beta and an e-mail address and I’ll get in touch!!


Windows Home Server – the story so far…


As my regular reader 🙂 will know, I was invited to the WHS Beta last week.

To say I was excited would be a bit of an understatemnt, I’ve been want ing to play with this technology ever since Charlie‘s team announced it at CES! I immediately downloaded the software and documentation, requested my license key and burnt my discs.

The install process has been documented extensively by others who were invited to the party earlier, so I’ll skim over it – suffice to say it was a breeze on an old desktop machine that’s been gathering dust for 18 months – a P4? 1.7Ghz Compaq with ~700Mb RAM and a 120Gb Hard Drive – real bleeding edge stuff 5 years ago!! The only addition was a cheap “e-bay special” Firewire / USB card – no driver issues at all 🙂 The firewire ports are required to connect my additional drives in their external enclosure….. When WHS goes gold I might step up to the 8 bay version :-))

The process of adding disks was very smooth, I managed to clear a lot of data from one of my disks (removing old backups etc.) and moved the remaining data to other drives temporarily – probably the slowest part of the entire process… then I plugges the array into the server and the “issues” began……….

The server saw all the disks – that’s fine, but it re-labels them – so I couldn’t tell which disk was the “blank one” 🙁   So, I disconnected the drives again, and pulled the caddies that had “data storing” disks. Then, after a quick re-connect, I could add my blank drive to the shared pool. This done, I reseated the “full” disks one at a time, and moved data  around accordingly.

  • It’s probably worth pointing out at this stage a few little “features” of WHS and adding storage to the pool.

    1.   Disks must be formatted before they can be added to the pool.

    2.   Once a disk is added to the pool – drive letters in the conventional sense do not exist – they all form part of a big pot

  • 3.  In the console, the individual disks are “visible” (see the screen-shot below) but only for a status readout.


 This leads me to the biggest “issue” I’ve found so far (and at time of writing) the 2nd most highly rated piece of feedback on the Connect site (raised by yours truly!!) – the face that I cannot re-label my disks within WHS.  e.g. I’d like to be able to number my disks from 1-4 for the external disks – top to bottom in the external array. That way, if a disk goes “bad” – and it’s bound to happen – then I can identify it easily without having to pull the drive one at a time to see when the error goes away.

I see this as a VITAL faeture for the finished product – especially if Microsoft want this to become popular with non-techies – at the moment it’s in danger of falling through the cracks between enthusiasts (by not being feature-rich enough) and the “normal” home-user (because it’s too tricky to do the “easy” stuff). Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE this product, and it’s not going to be disconnected from my home LAN any time in the forseeable future – but it’s a way off being recommended to my parents for them to backup their digital photos etc!!

 There’s a very good write-up here from computerworld, and the reviewer seems to be of the same mindset as me when he sums it up with “For my part, now that Home Server is installed on my network, it’s not going to be unplugged”


Windows Home Server – first impressions


Well, it’s excellent – in a word…..

I have to say it’s a very impressive bit of software – the most stable and functional piece of Beta 2 software I think I’ve ever used. I got my invite 36 hours ago – an overnight download, and an install the following night have got me to this post….

The install was painfully simple – pop the DVD in, boot and about 5 (possible more like 3) clicks later – it’s done…. so simple even my dear old Mum could probably manage it!

The initial user experience is good – it’s a very simple desktop – think stripped down Windows 2003. The console connection is clear and easy to use, and overall it’s a doddle.

My only complaint so far is the keyboard “support” there’s no option to choose what keyboard you have – so it defaults to US…. not a huge issue I hear you say – but it’s a PITA when you use @ or ” in your initial password – they’re reversed on UK / US keyboards – so logging in from a UK laptop later means you think you’ve gone mad for a couple of minutes 🙂

There’s also no obvious way to change the administrator password once you’ve set it – so if it’s compromised – you’re SOL as far as I can see at the moment – I’ll do some more testing on this one tonight and post more if I find it.

PC Backups are very cool – you install the connector software, it automagically finds the server, gives you a link to the shares and the console software and you can then setup the backups from the console in a matter of minutes – pick what you want to exclude – rather than what you want to backup – novel idea – and quite nice I think…. means you’re less likely to miss something important (and it automagically removes stuff like your pagefile and temp directories – very clever) The backup then kicks off – and it looks pretty fast – I don’t have an exact time as I got booted off the PC – WAF still counts for something 🙂

I’ll post more in the coming days as I try to work out how to migrate my data across (4 drives in a Firewire enclosure) – should be fun 🙂