* Posts by Owen Williams

36 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jun 2007

Power monitoring across the desktop estate

Owen Williams


I bought 3 ZigBee Ploggs and an ethernet gateway so we could plot the energy usage of servers in a rack. Unfortunately the Ploggs are about £100 each as is the ethernet gateway. The Windows SDK to talk to the gateway is in the region of £250. So it's not very cheap at the moment to even have a poke at the issue.

I you buy the binary protocol version of the Ploggs and don't want to use Windows I released some scrappy code on sourceforge called plogger that will interpret some of the protocol.

Web of Things are a group who have looked at Ploggs connected to desktop PCs.

I'm also looking at intelligent PDUs but that's not desktop related...

DARPA to build military App Store, battlefield 3G

Owen Williams
Thumb Up

Most popular apps





AMD preps for two-fisted two-socket catfight

Owen Williams

I love AMD to bits but...

I want 4 sockets and more. Can someone lower the heat output on CPUs so much so that we can start stacking them? Twin towers of 4 6-8 core CPUs in a 1U pizza box. I've got some video encoding to do if I'm going to support HTML5 everywhere...

GSHP: The green tech even carbon sceptics will like

Owen Williams

Free consultation

Write a trivial story about a less than trivial subject and get 30 well informed comments for free. So, who at El Reg Towers has just bought a plot of land and is doing a new build? It's a tactic I use my self and don't mind seeing it here because I'm interested in the same stuff.

I thought Combined Heat and Power CHP was a useful thing to employ in the UK...

2009's Top Nas boxes

Owen Williams

Cough Drobo Cough

Drobo and Drobo Share.

Or DIY with OpenSolaris and ZFS:


Microsoft files cloud data portability patent

Owen Williams

Microsoft adds to RFC on Cloud Migration

Well...it would be nice if that were the tag line.

Ofcom balks at Beeb's HD DRM dream

Owen Williams


It better work with MythTV or I'm going to ask for some money back.

Ralph Lauren stick insect sacked for being 'too fat'

Owen Williams



Linus calls Linux 'bloated and huge'

Owen Williams

Wot he said (Sam Liddicott)

Otherwise the Acer Aspire One wouldn't have you logged in in 12 seconds. And the kernel is stable. And the kernel is faster than Windows and MacOSX. Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are only now trying to speed things up. And how? By dropping features. With Linux the user can choose the features he wants to run with.

Microsoft confirms IIS bug gives complete server control

Owen Williams

But only if...

you run IIS...

Masked passwords must go

Owen Williams

I think we could go further

Have the server accept badly spelt passwords. If they're close enough let the user log in.

That'll save loads of money. Might even generate some :)

Brit firm stops anti-tank warheads with cloth

Owen Williams

@Peter Fielden-Weston 2

Popular guy.

Fedora 11 leaps into filesystem unknown

Owen Williams

Fairly negative lead

in to what turns out to be a positive article.

Posted from Fedora 11.

Got a penguin with a slightly bigger smile?

Gordon 'to sacky' Wacky Jacqui

Owen Williams


What a day!

Qinetiq strike action could increase risk to British troops

Owen Williams

Whacky times are behind us!

Jacqui has quit. Woohoo!!!

Gov 'smart meter' plans: Sky box in charge of your house

Owen Williams

Frankly, I love the idea

No one will ever come around to my house to read the meter. I can run a cable from before the meter to the loft where my 2 200watt servers run all the time. Big savings ahoy.

I could become an energy supplier for the street...

Remote cut off...denial of service attack anyone? Jacqui's home addressES?

Did I just say that out loud?

DVLA issues double tax discs

Owen Williams

I got two

I hope the DVLA cancel the right one... maybe I should display both for the year.

Maybe I could get the money back on one and display the other. A bit like Jack Straw and his council tax.

Unrelated: Where's the Whacky Jacqui icon with the knife through the eye?

Gnome answers Linux critics with 'big' vision plan

Owen Williams

Desktop NCAP ratings

@ Michael Fremlins

I'm pretty sure that MacOSX's desktop is very close in look and feel to Motif's CDE.

As safety issues take a stronger hold of car design the more cars tend to look like one another.

Most people tend to use the desktop in similar ways which in turn drives the direction of the desktop.

Gnome with Compiz is currently the best desktop going for people who want to get stuff done. (If you ignore Aegis and its Domain X)

I don't mind if Gnome continue to gently evolve my desktop. I don't want to find my desktop mutated just because I went up a version of Fedora.

Banana menus...pah!

Which desktop Linux distribution?

Owen Williams


Fedora desktops, CentOS on the servers. Linux on the desktop since '94.

> Desktop linux commercially will never replace windows in my lifetime.

Smoke a lot? Drive fast? Take unnecessary risks?

I'll get my funeral director's coat.

Life hands Sun steaming sack of...

Owen Williams
Dead Vulture


I pass on useful articles to peers and management. I can't do that if the article is full of swearing. This is happening more and more. It's fun but it's not useful. Maybe Simon knows how to deal with such authors?

Freesat signs up LG

Owen Williams

Freesat+ plus DVD/Bluwhatever

We want one box and one box now. At least my mom does. I'll do with MythTV and do very nicely thank you.

2008's top three netbooks

Owen Williams
Thumb Up

Aspire One

The Aspire One is a good box. I'm very used to the keyboard. So much so that my 15 inch laptop feels enormous by comparison. The big laptop is very much quicker for surfing but I still use the One as it so portable. Google macles for customising the One.

Wish it had 3G and I wish I could have the laptop in a bag, that sort of stays on, and have a dinky little bluetooth handset to take/make phone calls on.

Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

Owen Williams
Thumb Up

Standards are a Good Thing

This story spins IE8 as a Bad Thing. Finally, Microsoft are trying to produce a standards compliant web browser. I just hope it's true and that Microsoft stick at it. The Bad Thing are web sites that discriminate against their users.

Artemis Fowl scribe to pen sixth Hitchhiker's novel

Owen Williams

Spinning in his earn

It's my heart held belief that Douglas Adams fell off his exercise bike because he hated what Hollywood were doing to his film.

Let him lie.

Tiny tots trial touchscreen tech

Owen Williams

Thin client please

Thin client please so the kiddies can continue their work at home.

Net shoppers bullied into being Verified by Visa

Owen Williams
Thumb Down

Smile are on the bandwagon

I asked to opt out of Smile's scheme and was told I can't.

I took the opportunity to get another card. One where I get 1% cash back on purchases and 3% on fuel at a certain garage. That certain garage is doing the online banking, which is worrying but they may be behind in this latest 'service' to customers technology.

Fedora 10 alpha code is go

Owen Williams

Fedora is as stable as you are...

competent, patient and active in the community.

UK.gov dishes out £19m for comms snoop data silos

Owen Williams
IT Angle

Avoid detection???

freenet, gpg, tor, privoxy etc.

or use the free wifi at the varsity pub in le1.

This isn't about competent crims. My paranoia reaches as far as the cabinet believing that computers can accurately read our thoughts. Divots. clots, sods.

Listening? : anthrax etc.

MSI Wind Windows XP Edition sub-notebook

Owen Williams

3 button mouse eumlation under X?

The trackpad has only one button. Can it emulate a 3 button mouse? Ctrl-v just won't 'cut' it.

OpenSUSE 11 a redemptive OS with a Mactastic shine

Owen Williams
Paris Hilton

RedHat 5.2 was a fine distribution

As was RedHat1 and all the others through to Fedora 9 now. I don't really understand this swapping horses thing. Who's got the time? Take responsibility for your computing and learn how to fix your OS of choice. The absolutely bloody marvelous thing about Linux is that you can get further under the hood than any other OS. Broke? Fix it.

I wouldn't report that the install was favorable compared to MacOSX. If it weren't for the richness of choice (Good Thing™) in Linux the install would be identical: choose a partition and install it. The nice thing about Linux or MacOSX installing is that it only reboots once...you hearing me :) What I got from this article is that Windows is in third place.

Fonts? Liberation.

Thingy-bob because even she could use Linux these days.

Asus announces 10in, HDD-equipped Eee PC

Owen Williams

Turbo button

I hope the turbo button goes up to eleven.

Mine's the one with a knee high druid monument standing next to a lead guitarist on it.

Heathrow T5 security tackles Transformers t-shirt threat

Owen Williams

My other T-Shirt...

is a Porsche wielding a chain saw!!!

Legal, major label DRM-free MP3s hit UK (at last)

Owen Williams

Flac too, please

I'd rather buy a CD and rip to Flac. I'd have two decent copies then.

Nexsan gives 42TB array a make-over for picky Apple fans

Owen Williams

SATABeast and thumper (x4500)

The SATABeast is very nice. As is the thumper. The way the disks are installed in either, vertically and perpendicular to the front of the machine with gaps between them, allows air to flow nicely. Better than say front loaded disks. With a cable extension arm the boxes slide in and out of a rack nicely too.

The thumper to education with 24TB disk and 16GB ram, 4 x 1Gb/s ethernet and 2xdual core cpus is £10k plus VAT. Very useful box. I've been creating x264 video at 2x realtime with the OS loaded into RAM which you can't do with a SATABeast.

Noisy but nice.

Commuters shouting into their mobiles? Just jam 'em

Owen Williams

To Cameron Colley : I have a patent idea

Wouldn't it be nice if your PMP could take advantage of Hearing Loop technology to pipe announcements through your headphones? Maybe there's a do-hicky that goes between your PMP and headphones that does it already?

If not, that was my idea

PC or not PC? Ten desktops on test

Owen Williams

Mac art...pah.

Macs are the Stella Artois of computing. Reassuringly (bloody) expensive. Beautiful cases with, besides one or two buzz word components, cheap tat inside. You shouldn't be looking at the case anyway. You should be wondering why someone using Firefox on Linux is more productive than someone using Safari on the slower, infinitely more expensive, Mac OS X. And wondering how Apple got a away with those truly atrocious one button mice for so long.