July 2008

Very pleased to say that OSC 8th edition (the dinosaur book) is now out. All the details are at Amazon.

Unfortunately a textbook is never done. On my current todo list is updating all of the powerpoint slides that accompany the text, made available for faculty to modify and use.


Postponed until September – You are Invited !
The New England Open Solaris User Group (NEOSUG) Meeting

Topic for this meeting:  Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Performance, Observability and Debugging
(The Abridged Version)

Please RSVP at : https://www.suneventreg.com//cgi-bin/register.pl?EventID=2337

What:        New England OpenSolaris User Group Meeting (NEOSUG)
When:        July 24,2008  6:30-9:30 pm (registration opens @5:30)
Where:     Sun Microsystems Campus
1 Network Circle
Burlington, MA

Who should attend? : UNIX Developers, Solaris users, System Managers and System Administrators:


5:30-6:30:      Registration, Refreshments
6:30-6:40:      Introductions, Peter Galvin
6:40-8:30:      Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Performance, Jim Mauro, Sun Microsystems
8:30-9:00:      Questions and Discussion


Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Performance, Observability and Debugging
(The Abridged Version)

The observability toolbox in Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris is loaded with
powerful tools and utilities for analyzing applications and the underlying
system. Solaris Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), allows you to connect the dots
between the process and thread-centric tools, and the system utilization
tools, and get a complete picture on what your applications are doing, how they
are interacting with the kernel, and to what extent they are consuming
hardware resources (CPU, Mem, etc).

This two hour talk walks through the tools, utilities and methods for
analyzing workloads on your Solaris systems.


Peter Galvin : Chief Technologist, Corporate Technologies Inc.
Peter Baer Galvin is the Chief Technologist for Corporate Technologies, Inc., a systems integrator and VAR, and was the Systems Manager for Brown University’s Computer Science Department. He has written articles for Byte and other magazines. He wrote the Pete’s Wicked World and Pete’s Super Systems columns at SunWorld Magazine. He is currently contributing editor for SysAdmin Magazine, where he managed the Solaris Corner. Peter is co-author of the Operating Systems Concepts and Applied Operating Systems Concepts texbooks.
Blog: https://pbgalvin.wordpress.com <https://pbgalvin.wordpress.com/&gt;

Jim Mauro: Principle Engineer in the Systems Group,  Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Jim Mauro works on improving delivered application performance on Sun hardware and Solaris. Jim’s recent project work includes Solaris
performance as a guest operating system on Xen and VMware virtual machines, Solaris large memory page performance, and Solaris performance on large SPARC systems. Jim co-authored Solaris Internals (1st Ed, Oct 2000), Solaris Internals (2nd Ed, June  2006)
and Solaris Performance and Tools (1st Ed, June 2006).

Picked up my first iphone on Friday. My friend Mark and I avoided lines by calling ahead to check status and wait time at a few stores, and arriving at the store late afternoon. In Hingham, MA, we waited only a couple of minutes before having a sales rep help us to our new phones.

Many great things to appreciate about the phone, especially the screen and the (many, mostly) great applications. Some things people complain about I find to be very nice. The camera quality seems to be very good, but maybe as the lens gets some wear and tear the quality will decrease.

Fun applications so far include evernote (my new favorite journaling software), sketches, save benjis, vicinity, weatherbug, google, bloomberg, pcalc, and the built in GPS.  And the UI is tremendous.

But battery life is a problem.  To start, I turned everything on – bluetooth, wifi, 3G, and push email from exchange. This is the way I’d prefer to run so I figured I should give it a try. About 5 hours later, with fairly light phone use, the battery was dead.  Turned off Wifi and (unscientifically) battery life wasn’t much better. Then 3G, and again battery seemed to be draining quickly. Then found a web site talking about how “push” email is a big battery drainer. Tried resetting that to “pull” mode – i.e. the phone will connect periodically to the email (calendar, contact) servers and download changes, rather than getting the changes as they happen. If that greatly increases battery life I’ll try turning on the other services and see if I can get closes to connectivity nirvana or if I’ll have to run lean and mean.  I’ll report back with the results.


I’m now happy with the battery life. It’s at least as good as my old phone – the Verizon XV6800 smartphone. The key is to turn off “push” synchronization. Instead I get updates to Exchange every 30 minutes or whenever I launch the mail / calendar / contact iPhone applications.  I’ve left 3G and wireless on, used the phone a reasonable amount from 9am to midnight without charging it, and still had 25% battery life left.  I have cycled the battery charge a few times which usually also helps battery life.

The current status of my life with iPhone:

Apps do occasionally crash – I chalk this up to version 1.0 of the API and the apps.

Occasionally (once every other day?) the phone will crash when running an app. Note that all the problems are with 3rd party apps, never (so far) the native Apple apps.

UI, location services, look and feel are all great.

Can’t charge the phone in any of my vehicles via the dock connector to my sound systems – at least I can listen to my iPod content though!  This is a bit aggravating. I can charge via a cigarette lighter adapter though, and bought a “Kensington mini battery pack and charger” external battery for emergency use (that works well so far), so not a huge issue. It will be an issue when I finally give in and update my ipod car adapters though (once compatible ones are out) because those are expensive.

Syncing takes a loooong time (full backup each time the iphone is connected to the computer) if left to its own devices. I found that (if I don’t want the backup) just hit the little “x” in the syncing status at the top of itunes, and then itunes will move on to the other aspects of syncing (i.e. loading new apps, podcasts, music). At night I’ll let a full sync run but during the day I just want the contents updated…

Favorite apps: bloomberg, weatherbug, pccalc, shazam, evernote, save benjis, where, yelp, boxoffice, twinkle, sportstap, mlb.com at bat, pandora, sketches, ereader, airme, and some games. Very nice!