Wednesday, August 20, 2008

20 August 2008: Box

So a little over four years ago I blogged about a magic toaster that was going to revolutionise the world. While that hasn't quite happened yet - although the 1/4 terabyte 'WD Passport' drive currently USB'd to my work laptop might disagree - there's another box that just came into my life which promises far less and delivers a much more useful service.

It doesn't store photos, or videos, or cricket statistics, and it doesn't give off smoke. At least not yet. What it does, silently and effectively, is takes electricity from our American socket at 110 volts and outputs electricity into our British equipment at 240 volts, provided said British equipment doesn't want to draw more than 6 amps or so in the process (very few things do). Meaning not only do we now have a printer again (hurrah!) but our glorious region-free DVD player and sound system will now stop dropping out the audio from time to time, and it also makes us sort-of wish we hadn't given away the old John Lewis waffle iron (although it went to a very good, if blog-deficient, home).

The best feature might well be that it will also perform the reverse operation as required, meaning essentially any equipment purchased in any country with either voltage rating is now usable in the other, just in case any such moves are required in the future.

Meantime I'm investigating Oracle-Stellent-UCM-thing's new replacement for Verity, which is hard enough to find and even harder to use. Not only is it not on Metalink (like they said it would be) but it also only works on an Oracle 11g database. Your Content Server can sit on any other DB if you like, but to use OracleTextSearch you need 11g, and if it isn't your core DB, then you have to install it just for this component. Your alternatives? Full-text DB indexing, perhaps some unsupported Verity, FAST-it-yourself and maybe even Google (*cough*).

The features look good - stemming, thesaurus use, the usual suspects - but when the first attempt (loading onto an existing Content Server running on 11g) failed with a confusing-looking Oracle error, I decided it might be safer just to try it on a brand new installation. And that means installing Oracle database 11g, standard edition, with Spatial tagged on in case I want to do some RDFing at any point. And how long does it take to install this thing? Currently two hours in and only at 52%. Even after this, who's to say whether the component will work or just crash like before?

Makes a Windows re-install look almost inviting. Maybe that's why they've not put it on Metalink yet.

Addendum: The Lincolnshire Poacher seems to be no more. I noticed this about a month ago when I saw the Wikipedia article now referred to it in the past tense. After viewing the 'spooks' website though, I realised I probably have more reason to be worried about the Poacher's trackers rather than the mysterious counting sources themselves. Do these folks really have nothing better to do?


Whiskers said...

You should ask the guys around the office about the "smoke" we had about a year ago.

Becky said...

We've got one of them boxes ... very useful. Ben uses it for the various guitar effects bits and bobs that he buys from the States on eBay. I like the fact that its quite reassuringly chunky and old-fashioned looking.

Don't know if you caught this quote from Rory Fallon on the BBC Sport website this week:

Plymouth striker Rory Fallon:
"We've got to hold the ball up, we've got to win balls, we've got to win headers.

"It's a tough job but it's your job and we're going to do it this week against Swansea.

"It should be good to see them [his former Swansea team-mates] but come the game there's no friends on the field.

"I want to score goals, it doesn't matter if it's against my own side or a side I've never played before."

D'oh, no wonder we've got problems ...

Becky said...

Actually, I only meant to post the last sentence of that quote ...

Becky said...

you should blog more often :-P