Monday, May 08, 2006

The 'Lab' - part of the computer food chain!

A friend of mine who works for one of our partners sent me a URL to the Microsoft Macintosh Laboratory. It was very impressive... hundreds of Macs everywhere with a whole cluster of Mac minis. He added 'pity we cannot get anything even approaching this for our line of business'. So true. We would love some Mac minis for developing systems for use around our region. They would be great for monitoring stations and SMS gateway machines and audio workstations and... and... oh well, in our dreams.

Anyway the development of the SMS gateway is progressing and so you can compare our modest setup to Microsoft, here is a photo of our setup... just after we took delivery of another 3 Burnside desktop mobiles so we can test them clustered together. Well, actually it's half of it. The other half is a couple more lab computers on a big table the other side of the room. Most of the lab machines became lab machines because they were too old for anything else useful. So we use them for testing and development.

This week Michael will be trying to get his software to automatically configure itself for multiple Burnside phones on the same USB connection. In the old days [no not 'good old days' or 'bad old days' just the old days about 10 years ago] you plugged something like a modem into one of the serial ports. You knew because it was labelled 'COM1' that it was COM1. With USB it's not so easy... the com port changes when you plug extra ones in, hence why Michael's software has to go out and find the correct phone.

The machine at the front contains the motherboard we are testing for a new replacement we want to put in for all of our servers. Assuming it all goes to plan then it will be moved to our rackmount servers in about 2 weeks time. So far... [this is the third one we have tested] it looks fine. When we have approved that motherboard and completed testing and put it and others like it into service then the old slow motherboards will become lab machines replacing the even older and slower ones we currently have. Now you understand why we long for some of the resources that big brother Microsoft has at their disposal!

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