Ten Tech Items Inspired by Science Fiction

Technovelgy.com has a list of 652 devices and concepts which were introduced in science fiction novels, some of which have "come true". The most famous of all is of course the communicator in Star Trek, which was the predecessor of our mobile phone.
Here's a short overview of the most famous ones in this Google answers thread, with several links to the Technovelgy site.


Nothing's more irritating than failing hardware : what's the use of having a RAID 0+1 setup in your dedicated firewall box at home, when the disks refuse to boot from. I could mount them with a Knoppix live CD, but restoring the bootsector gave me the weirdest errors in Grub and Lilo. As I didn't had that much time handy, I finally decided to install Guarddog, a personal firewall, on my desktop and to initiate the ADSL call from that machine.

Time to start looking for a integrated router/firewall/access point.

florisla Wed, 04/12/2006 - 07:44

Take a look at the Asus WL-500G deluxe. It runs Linux and it has a usb 2.0 port (printer, hub, storage, webcam, ...)

No worries... in Down Under

We have returned from Australia as the target country for our honeymoon trip. 3600 km from Sydney to Port Douglas along the east coast, with a short stop in Hong Kong on the way back :

Sydney, Port Stephens, Lamington Nat. Park, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Surfers' Paradise, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, Eungella Nat. Park, Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Nat. Park were the highlights.

Lots of friendly people, furry animals, and sunshine. Have a look at some of our pictures (mostly landscapes, though).

CPU caps

OpenSolaris has now CPU caps, in keeping with the Unix philosophy of giving you enough rope to shoot yourself in the foot. The Fair Share Sheduler is in most cases way better CPU control, though in some cases caps may be interesting.

Adventures in the Nexenta installer

Seems that I don't have any luck with installing OpenSolaris : I reported previously that the Nevada build 27 did have a problem creating a faulty initrd (or boot archive) image. There are workarounds around this, but in a VMware cage, this takes *ages*.

OTOH, there's Nexenta. An OpenSolaris kernel (based on the Solaris Express builds) with a GNU/Debian package management system on top of it. The ultimate goal of Nexenta is to incorporate the OpenSolaris kernel into Debian, but that faces still many problems, of which the OpenSolaris licence incompatibility is one of the largest. I tried to install this one in VMWare, and yes, it is as dog slow as an OpenSolaris build, hell, even slower. But the installer got stuck it seemed on the creation of the boot archive. That's the same error as the Nevada build. As I don't use my laptop and there's no vital information on the disk, I decided to try the native installation on my laptop of Nexenta, but there the OpenSolaris kernel even fails to detect the CDROM :

WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1,1/ide@1 (ata1)
        timeout: reset target, target=0 lun=0
CD-ROM: discovery failed

The workaround in the Nexenta FAQ doesn't solve this problem, which is weird, because the Nevada build does boot and does start the OpenSolaris installer.


Update : I eventually chose to copy the VMWare image to a faster machine, installed it from there, but hit the boot_archive bug again. However, booting from the install CD, and recreating the ramdisk with

# mkdir /a; mount /dev/dsk/c0d0s0 /a
# /boot/solaris/bin/create_ramdisk -R /a

did the trick.

Anonymous Sun, 04/02/2006 - 17:34

FYI, FSF and SUN agreed that Nexenta is doing a right thing and it is OK to bundle CDDL runtime with GPLv2 userland apps on a single media!
This happened at first GPLv3 discussion meeting. There should not be any concerns at this point.