August 8, 2007

1129 words 6 mins read

Move / LinuxWorld Expo

Ok. Well the first part I mention previously that I’ve moved. My DSL came up last Friday after a call to AT&T/SBC and a visit from a tech (happened same day – I was impressed). I’ve been working from my new home since Friday. So all is well.

Next and more importantly, LinuxWorld Expo started today in San Francisco. Luckily the Moscone Center is really close to BART – so I get to the local BART station (about 5mn walk), BART in, and walk about 10mn to Moscone. Mass transit For The Win! Sadly, I haven’t been to LinuxWorld in many years (probably been 5 years at least) but it seems that it is much, much smaller than it used to be. I remember going to LinuxWorld once with my father when it was in San Jose still (probably 2000, at the latest) and I remember it being much bigger – could be my imagination too.

Regardless, I had a good time wandering around the floor. Since I look like a kid – no one bothered me. This is rather typical actually. Where any normal person might goto an Expo and get attacked by sales drones, I get through completely unscathed. Its a blessing and a curse, because when I want info – I have to fight for attention – and even then some sales drones refuse to speak to me. Oh well, their loss.

I did find some new an interesting toys/technology that I hadn’t heard of, and got to play witha few toys of interest. So lets goto bullets!

  • The most important item I saw today, and got to work with hands on….. was the OpenMoko. I saw their booth and stood around for at least 10 minutes till someone forked over a Moko for me to play with. I knew exactly what to expect, I’ve seen the videos and been following the project for a while – but I really just wanted to touch one. There are obviously some kinks to work out – but it was the “developer” model I was playing with. Honestly, it worked alot better than I expected. And Damn Was It Cool(tm).
  • I also spent a good amount of time hanging out at the “Tech Bar” in Palm Inc‘s booth, and checking out the new Palm Folio. To the guys there, you are cool dudes, thanks for letting me play for a bit. After seeing the device (The Palm Folio) for no more than a few minutes, and handling a bit – I knew it was a cool toy. Its going to be great for alot of different groups: Students that dont want to have a full featured laptop, Business people who need something really light and limited functionality (word, email, etc), “The Older Generation” that doesn’t need anything fancy. I actually got in a small argument with another gentleman there who was trying to reason that a Laptop is far superior. I think I ended up selling him on the Folio. After that the guys at the tech bar tried to get me a T-shirt and hire me (jokingly). Sadly they were out of T-shirts for the day.
  • The “Random Password Manager” from Lieberman Software. That was a really interesting piece of software that has alot of promise I think. It basically allows you to automagically rotate passwords on Windows Machines, Microsoft AD, Linux (and I’m sure a few other things I forgot) on a regular basis. Not only that it will essentially issue “one-time” passwords with a check-in/check-out feature and audit tracking. While I could care less about the auditing because my IT needs are just for me, this would definitely be handy for any company of a decent size. You can allow IT minions limited access, allow them to get the passwords they need on their own, and have a permanent audit trail of who had what and when. Also, I think I was talking to one of the founders, or CTO, or someone important, he was a very nice guy. Gave me a nice run down with lots of information (even though I’m “just a kid”).
  • The “GroundWork Monitor” was also of interest to me. It takes a bunch of monitoring and related softwares (such as: nagios, rrdtools, snmp, syslog), and mushes them together in one handy and easy to use application. Also, I was told that its a “configure once” kind of deal. So you dont have to configure nagios to monitor and then configure rrdtools to graph, etc. I can verify that this software makes purdy pictures.
  • Untangle“. Honestly, this looks super cool. Its titled “The Open Source Network Gateway” and I really truly wished I had heard of it when I was last rebuilding the office network because this would have saved me SOOOO much time – it does everything I did on our Gateway/Router – but all in one shiny little package. It integrates 14 different applications all into one interface. I really wish I had seen a demonstration though, or could talk to a sales drone – but they were being assess and refused to talk to me no matter how hard I tried. Oh well. I doubt I’ll pay for it, simply because of that, but I’ll use the free version. OSS FTW!
  • Splunk. If you don’t know what Splunk is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog. Now, I know full well what Splunk is. I run it in the office, and have been for a long time now, but I checked out their booth anyways. I lied to them and said I knew nothing, makes things easier. They showed me some new cool tricks and things that I’d never known about before, and some features that I really liked – like the ability to create a report to be run and emailed on a regular basis. Yes, I like to look at the logs, but I also really like the idea of waking up in the morning with an email in my inbox telling me a summary of the previous days events – purdy pictures FTW! Oh, and I also found out that 3.0 went gold last week – now I can upgrade my servers from the 3.0Beta.

This is by no means a “complete” list of the Expo hall. But what I found interesting and amusing. Yes, Motorola, AMD, IBM, Dell and (Insert every major distro of linux) was there… but… big deal. I like the fact that there was new stuff here that I had never heard of, and some really interesting stuff at that.

Oh – and anyone of importance reads this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sync software for the Palm Folio to the OpenMoko – because that would be major kick ass.

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