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Mounting your MobileMe iDisk on Windows

Posted by Chalky on Feb 8, 2009 in Computer

Back in the days when it was still .Mac, there used to be a simple tool for connecting your iDisk called the iDisk Utility for Windows. Whilst performing a Google Search will allow you to find it eventaully, you will probably find that it doesn’t work on Vista correctly.

The MobileMe iDisk is based on WebDAV, a well known internet technology that is supported by all major browsers and has been supported in Windows for some time. WebDAV compliance has been much improved in Windows Vista. In order to retrieve this useful bit of functionality you can follow these simple steps:

Open up My Computer (just called Computer in Windows Vista) and click on Tools -> Map Network Drive…

Map Network Drive

Select an empty drive letter (I usually use Z) and then in the Folder field enter: http://idisk.me.com/yourusername (replacing yourusername with your MobileMe User Name):

Map Network Drive Wizard

If you want your MobileMe iDisk to be automatically connected when you restart your computer, click on Reconnect at logon. Then, click on Connect using a different user name. In this Connect As dialog box, enter you MobileMe User Name in the User name field and your MobileMe Password in the Password field and click OK:

Connect As Dialog

Click on Finish on the Map Network Drive Wizard.

Your computer will process this for a little while and will then present you with a Windows Explorer window with the contents of your iDisk. You can now also access your iDisk as a drive in the My Computer window:

iDisk in My Computer

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Black Marble Technical Update 2009

Posted by Chalky on Feb 7, 2009 in Computer, Technology, Work

I really need to get into the habit of finishing writing entries, rather than starting them and leaving them for weeks where they’re not really relevant anymore!

Black MarbleA few weeks, I attended the Black Marble Technical Update for 2009. It was held at the Leeds/Bradford Holiday Inn. The Hotel itself is in a nice setting, outside both Leeds and Bradford surrounded by trees and fields. I think that if I go to the Conference again next year (which I’m hoping to) then I might treat myself to a night there!

A big thumbs up to the Black Marble team and the Holiday Inn who put on a great spread for the Delegates. A large selection of cake, chocolate bars, Seabrooks Crisps and sandwiches. It is also one of the few events that I have been to that actually catered for people who don’t drink tea or coffee with a wide range of soft drinks and fresh fruit juice.

The first part of the event, was mainly for Business Management and the tools Microsoft provide to facilitate this. As me and Mark weren’t really interested in this, we didn’t go in favour of staying at home!

Windows 7The second half was the bulk of the Technical Update. We got to have a sneak peak of the latest Windows 7 BETA which I was pleased to see was running on a couple of DELL Mini Netbooks. It was great to see it running on generally low powered Hardware that I knew from experience wouldn’t run Vista. As a result of the event, I have installed Windows 7 on my work HP Compaq nx6310 which has also failed to run Vista in the past. I am hoping to finish writing up an entry for that soon. We got to see some of the features that will be included in Windows Server 2008 R2 which gave me and Mark a renewed interest in the Server Operating System after our initial enthusiasm had been wiped out! The Black Marble team walked us through the Road Map for these and other Microsoft Products including a very brief look at Microsoft Office 14. There was also a look at Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s rival project to Amazon’s EC2.

Ed Gibson - Chief Security Advisor (Microsoft UK)The evening session was a talk from Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor for the UK, Ed Gibson. This was by far the highlight of the day. Being an ex-FBI Agent, you’d expect a very serious presentation. However, Ed presents himself in an amusing way but still get’s his point across very well. He presents his information is a story-like fashion and makesman links between different subjects that you would never normally link but leaves the impression behind that makes you wonder why you never did in the first place. The fact that he doesn’t use technical jargon nor any equipment, not even a microphone makes this man even the more interesting when he speaks. He doesn’t hide behind PowerPoint Presentations and booming speakers. Just him and his thoughts. A truly great speaker.

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The Return of the XBOX

Posted by Chalky on Dec 17, 2008 in Random

Yesterday, I received my XBOX back from Frankfurt via UPS. I was pretty pleased because:

  1. It meant I will have my XBOX for my Birthday
  2. The repair took less time that Microsoft has said.
When I opened the box, I was almost certain that I had been shipped a brand new XBOX, however on closer inspection I found that it was still my original XBOX. However, I was very pleased that they had replaced the front faceplate as this has been damaged in my move from Scunthorpe to Sheffield, hence why I thought it was new. The XBOX has had a new Motherboard and a new DVD Drive along with the new faceplate. 
I’ve only played on it for a very limited amount of time but everything appears to be in order. The XBOX seems slightly quieter overall but it could just be my imagination. 
As well as receiving my XBOX in better condition than when it went, I was very pleased to see that Microsoft has included a covering letter explaining what work had been carried out on the XBOX and a voucher for a free month’s of XBOX Live Gold as compensation for the inconvenience that I had been caused. tHis was a very welcome surprise and means that I can put off renewing XBOX Live until after Christmas.
Anyway, all in all I’m pretty chuffed with the outcome, hence me posting the results as I usually moan about things. I’m sure normal service will be resumed shortly!

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XBOX 360 in Disgrace

Posted by Chalky on Nov 29, 2008 in Bad Luck, Technology

Well, it was inevitable really wasn’t it. I should have known from the first crash that with my Bad Luck it was a sign that my XBOX 360 was slowly crawling onto it’s deathbed! Pretty annoying really when I’ve just bought 2 games for it and I’m getting Guitar Hero World Tour for my Birthday from Jill.

I was a bit worried at first because my XBOX 360 is coming up to its 2nd Birthday which would mean that the Console is out of warranty. Seeing as my XBOX was fine before the installation of NXE I thought I’d give them a ring to see what’s what. I endured the torture that is Max. Max is the name of the XBOX Support Line Automated Voice Activated System. Unfortunately he is seemingly deaf and has been programmed to respond to an American persons voice, meaning that he has completely incapable of understanding what I was saying. However, I eventually managed to get to talk to a real person, for future reference, the trick is to keep saying AGENT and he’ll eventually dial out to the Call Centre. 

Luckily (I know, it surprised me too), the 3 Red Lights of Death/Doom/Unhappiness is covered by an extended warranty of 3 years which means that my XBOX 360 will be repaired for free. So really, it was quite lucky that it happened now and not a year down the line! I’ve just got to try and get the game out of the XBOX and remove the Hard Drive before I package it up and send it on it’s merry way. They said it’ll be returned 2-3 weeks after it has been picked up. I’m hoping it’s the former because otherwise I won’t have it for my Birthday!

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How Not To Save Energy with Windows Server 2008

Posted by Chalky on Nov 26, 2008 in Computer, Technology, Work

Having read Microsoft’s documentation on how Energy Efficient Windows Server 2008 is compared to Windows Server 2003, I thought I’d show my findings with some Real World Testing. In the documentation found here (yes, you can only read it if you have Microsoft Office 2007), the graph below is presented:

The following footnote is also included:

Power comparison of server unit only. Does not include external drive arrays. 

This immediately made me realise that the results of the graph would be inaccurate as this means that they will have not installed the Operating System onto the local hardware but a SAN-type array. Meaning that the power usage for the discs would not be included. Anyone who has used Windows Server 2008 or indeed Windows Vista will know that there is excessive disk usage even when the computer is seemingly idle.

Read more…

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Microsoft XBOX NXE

Posted by Chalky on Nov 23, 2008 in Bad Luck, Technology

Well, after having my XBOX sat in a corner unplugged and unloved for such a long time, I thought I’d better wipe of the dust and give it a whirl. What sparked me to do this was a discussion at work about the New XBOX Experience which, for those who don’t know is the latest (and biggest) overhaul since the XBOX’s release. 

It’s not been a particularly easy journey getting it to work on my XBOX. When I plugged it in I immediately got a message telling me an update was available which lead me to think that the process would be completely plainless. WRONG! As usual, the Chalky Bad Luck kicked in and my XBOX crashed quite a few times during the installation.

Anyway, I got it working in the end and I have to say I’m quite impressed. Where it is clear in many places that they have “borrowed” a few ideas from the Wii. However, in a complete opposite to the normal Microsoft way of doing things, they have managed to make an improvement on the idea.

I haven’t explored all of the new features yet, but I have made my Avatar:

I found that there was 100′s of different ways to change the Avatar’s face but they’d skimped a bit on the clothing department. The Shirt I chose wasn’t ideal but it was the only one I found that I fancied. I was also a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any trainers either. I’m sure that this is something that Microsoft will keep adding to!

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