My review of PC-BSD 7 published on

I have written another article for, this time about PC-BSD.

Until recently FreeBSD lacked an easy-to-use desktop version. In 2005 the PC-BSD project was started to provide just that. This month PC-BSD version 7 was released. I downloaded and installed it to see how it squares up to user-friendly Linux distributions like Ubuntu.

I had high expectations of PC-BSD, as much is said of FreeBSD’s stability and security, and having used FreeNAS, which is based on FreeBSD, I knew that FreeBSD has lots to offer. The idea of a desktop-orientated version of FreeBSD with easy-to-install software packages sounded useful. But on the whole PC-BSD failed to impress me. On the plus side, the Push Button Installation works as advertised and the ability to play MP3 and DivX files out of the box is something that many Linux distributions lack. But having struggled to install it, along with the KDE widget glitch and experiencing a system freeze, I feel that PC-BSD still needs some work.

Read more here: PC-BSD 7 is a mixed bag

Google’s 2001 index

Google have dusted off dusted off a vintage search index from 2001 and taken it for a spin.

The net was very different in ’01… “iPod” did not refer to a music player, “youtube” was nonsense, and if you were looking for “Michael Phelps,” chances are you meant the scientist, not the swimmer. “Wikipedia” was brand new.

Google had had so much fun searching that they put this old index online for everyone to play with.

You can try it at Google’s 2001 index.

Read more here: Official Google Blog: 2001: A search odyssey

New MacUpdate Promo – Back-to-School bundle

Mac Update have released a new Bundle. The bundle should cost $326 but this bundle costs only $49.99 a savings of over $276.86.

How it works
When you purchase bundles now, you’ll be the immediate owner of Bookends, Norrkross Movie, Mellel, DEVONagent, Periscope, Alarm Clock Pro, and HookUp. MacJournal, Contactizer Pro and LightZone are to be unlocked upon reaching the sales goals above. Every time a sales goal is achieved another application is unlocked and added into the bundle for free. People that purchase the bundle before each unlock milestone will have the unlocked products automatically added to their accounts for free. Because of the overwhelming success of the Mac community in the last 3 bundles, we fully expect to reach all 3 unlock milestones during the 2-week span of this event. All licenses are full licenses with normal upgrade paths.

Read more here: MacUpdate Promo – Big discounts on Mac software every day.

Learning FreeNAS Book Now Available


My book Learning FreeNAS is now available.

The book is guide to the FreeNAS software and teaches you how to turn a PC into a Network Attached Storage server.

This book will show you how to work with FreeNAS and set it up for your needs. You will learn how to configure and administer a FreeNAS server in a variety of networking scenarios. You will also learn how to plan and implement RAID on the server as well as how to use Storage Area Network technologies like iSCSI. The standard FreeNAS documentation walks you through the basic configuration, but this book will tell you exactly what you should do to plan, work, and deploy FreeNAS. This book has a comprehensive troubleshooting section that will point you in the right direction whenever you need help.

Also when you buy this book you are also supporting the FreeNAS Open Source project through Packt Publishing’s Open Source Project Royalty Scheme. In this scheme when Packt sell a book written on an Open Source project, they pay a royalty directly to that project. Therefore by purchasing this Learning FreeNAS book, Packt will have given some of the money received to the FreeNAS project.

You can get a free chapter to download and read in PDF format. Chapter 2 Preparing to Add FreeNAS to Your Network.

The PDF contains:

  • My biography (as written in the book)
  • A preview chapter from the book
  • A synopsis of the book’s content
  • Information on where to buy the book

The $199 iPhone 3G is a Myth

The iPhone will become available on the 22nd August in several new countries around the world. This is part of the grand Apple roll out of iPhone in over 70 countries.

I watch the original announcement by Steve Jobs said the iPhone 3G 8GB model would sell for $199. He said “We think the iPhone 3G will be affordable to almost everyone.”

He then added “In almost all these countries the price is a maximum of $199”

Great! Excellent, but it isn’t true…

I live in an EU country and today I got an email from Orange with the prices for the new iPhone 3G coming out on Friday.

If you have a contract with Orange already and you don’t want to change your contract then the iPhone will cost 469 Euros which is the equivalent of $692. That is 347% more expensive.

If you get a new special iPhone contract for 46 Euros ($67) per month then the iPhone will only cost you 409 Euros ($602) with a 1 year contract and 249 Euros ($367) for a 2 year contract. That is 184% more expensive.

Over 2 years you will pay $1608 dollars in monthly subscriptions and 367 for the phone giving a grand total of nearly $2000.

The cheapest possible price for getting a handset is if you go with the 70 Euro ($103) a month subscription (with a 2 year contract) and then the iPhone will only cost 179 Euros which is $263. The total you pay over 2 years would be $2735.

So the $199 iPhone is a myth.

Preview of ZFS on FreeNAS 0.7 Server Video on YouTube

I have created a new FreeNAS tutorial video previewing ZFS on FreeNAS 0.7. It has been uploaded to YouTube.

Following the success of the RAID5 FreeNAS tutorial video this next video is a sneak preview of ZFS which is coming in FreeNAS 0.7.

ZFS is a file system designed by Sun Microsystems for the Solaris Operating System. ZFS is open-source software and has therefore also been ported to FreeBSD the OS behind FreeNAS.

A traditional file systems resides on single hard drive and if you want to use more than one hard drive they need to be combined either with RAID or with a volume manager.

ZFS is different, all ZFS filesystems are built on top of virtual storage pools called zpools. A zpool is constructed of virtual devices, which are themselves constructed of physical hard drives (or indeed files or hard drive partitions).

Hard drives within a virtual device may be configured in different ways, depending on needs and space available: non-redundantly (similar to RAID 0), as a mirror (RAID 1) of two or more devices, as a RAID-Z group of three or more devices (which is similar to RAID 5), or as a RAID-Z2 group of four or more devices (which is similar to RAID 6).

FreeNAS 0.7 is only an alpha release from the nightly build system and ZFS is considered experimental, but it does give us a sneak preview of what is in store for FreeNAS.

The video will also be uploaded to the website.

The Mac Cool Factor

John Martellaro of MacObserver writes, “Linux just doesn’t have the cool factor to make switching worth the risk, but the Mac does. That’s why Linux works in the enterprise where cheap and boring is okay, but not with consumers who have come to expect more.”

Yes, it may be less expensive to install Linux in a “consumer desktop”, but it isn’t going to work as well, or be as intuitive, because it simply doesn’t offer the consumer the applications they want and need. It doesn’t work well with the iPhone or the iPod. And on top of all those practical reasons, Martellaro says, “it doesn’t have that hard to define cool factor.”

The suggestion is that the tipping point is also about the difference between “cool” and “lame”. Is “good enough, and cheaper” really what the consumer wants? It’s sad, really, that we’ve all come to expect little more than “good enough” from most of the companies we shell out our money to. Maybe the continuing growth in customer-shift from PC to Mac is about the fact that the average consumer no longer wants to accept ” good enough”. They want quality, they want dependability, they want design, and yes, a little bit of “cool” goes a long way when thrown into that mix.

Read more here: The Mac Cool Factor

(Via Mac Offers.)

10 Coolest Devices Running Linux (Updated!)

As you all probably know Linux is not limited to just desktops. It’s far reaching, actually. Not that you’d have a Terminal app on it or anything, but you could. Some of you may have a mobile phone running Linux and you probably don’t even know it. The most popular phone in the world runs Unix. That’s right. The iPhone runs on Unix. Are there any other cool devices out there running on Linux or Unix? Of course there are:

Read more here: 10 Coolest Devices Running Linux (Updated!)

(Via :: Newsvac.)