IBM V7000 drive replacements and forcing copy-back

November 16th, 2012 No comments

We’re running some V7000′s for some time now, and I’ve seen different results when a drive fails and gets replaced. A few scenario’s I’ve seen:

  • After replacing a drive, it’s automatically added back into the array, and a copyback from spare is started.
  • After replacing a drive, the new drive isn’t seen without running the wizard (or intervening with CLI), after intervention the new drive is added back into the array, and a copyback from spare is started.
  • After replacing a drive, the new drive isn’t seen, and the wizard also doesn’t recognize it, and asks you if you want to add the in use spare permanently to the array, or pick another drive (and you can not pick the new drive you just put in, because it isn’t recognized).

Why I’ve seen different things I haven’t found out yet. All I know is that IBM support has “a fix” for the third scenario, and I don’t like it, since it just adds the spare back into the array, and puts the replacement drive into candidate mode. According to IBM support, this is by design. Of course, it works, but if you have a strict drive/array layout like we do, you won’t like this result. We script our V7000 installs, and want drive and array layout to stay the same.

Yesterday we got into the third scenario again, so I solved it by CLI. It’s actually very easy, and I’m probably going to script this later.

A drive was failed, and a spare was used.

Using CLI we see the following:

IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep offline
188 offline 2223 failed sas_hdd 558.4GB 9 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive
id  status  error_sequence_number use    tech_type capacity mdisk_id mdisk_name member_id enclosure_id slot_id node_id node_name
.
188 offline 2223                  failed sas_hdd   558.4GB                                9            14                       
.
196 online                        member sas_hdd   558.4GB  25       mdisk35    0         9            22                        
.

Drive ID 188 is failed and offline. Drive ID 196 is it’s spare in use.
So we pull out drive 188, wait a bit, and put in the replacement drive. At this point one would expect to see the SAS discovery messages, but they’re not showing up. Which I think is kinda strange. Drive ID 188 stays in this status, and if we run the wizard, the drive isn’t recognized.

IBM support tells you to do the following:

Drive ID: X has no tray slot info. It’s a ghost entry.

To get rid of it use CLI cmds:
chdrive -use failed X
chdrive -use unused X
chdrive -use candidate X

If you do this, you’ll see the drive come online, with the desired status. You’ll also see the SAS discovery messages in the logs.

After that, you can either use the wizard, and do NOT pick the default setting, which will be to add the currently in use spare to the array, and leave the new drive as a candidate. If you’re not paying attention and leave it to the wizards, you will be running out of spares after a few of this replacements.. What you can do is use the other option, pick a new drive. And pick the one you just replaced. It’ll start a copy-back.

So I did half the procedure, and added a bit of my own.

IBM_2076:hostname:admin>chdrive -use unused 188
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep offline
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 188
188 online unused sas_hdd 558.4GB 9 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>chdrive -use candidate 188
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 188
188 online candidate sas_hdd 558.4GB 9 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep mdisk35
196 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 0 9 22
210 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 1 10 14
232 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 2 11 14
254 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 3 12 14
276 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 4 13 14
298 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 5 14 14
320 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 6 15 14
342 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 7 16 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>charraymember -member 0 -newdrive 188 mdisk35
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 188
188 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 0 9 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 196
196 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 0 9 22

And the logs show you an exchange has been started, and completed:

What it didn’t do, as the wizard also won’t do, is put the source drive for the exchange back to spare after it’s done. I have to test further how to resolve this. One guess is that if you put the newly replaced drive in spare mode instead of candidate mode, it’ll also swap the mode after completing the exchange. Not tested this, will test at next replace, or when I get an empty V7000 for testing. I will update of course when I have new results.

So we manual put the old spare back to spare mode again:

IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 188
188 online member sas_hdd 558.4GB 25 mdisk35 0 9 14
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 196
196 online candidate sas_hdd 558.4GB 9 22
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>chdrive -use spare 196
IBM_2076:hostname:admin>lsdrive|grep 196
196 online spare sas_hdd 558.4GB 9 22

So there you have it. Easy way to keep your layouts nice and tidy. It’s a bit of a hassle though, and we would like an option to make this happen automatically. We payed extra for support to uplift from CRU to FRU, so we don’t have to do drive replacements. Now a customer engineer replaces the drive, and we still have to take action, which wouldn’t be necessary if this was default behaviour.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how it’s possible to use grep on SVC/V7000:
SVC|V7000 and grep

 

Categories: IBM, SVC, V7000 Tags:

IBM SVC / V7000 Still missing grep

November 16th, 2012 2 comments

After asking development for years for having grep in CLI, this still hasn’t happened. Grep is really handy and sorely missed.

There is a way around this though, define a function. Unfortunately this only sticks for the current session, so just put it in your login scripts or ssh client to have it available at all times.

function grep { typeset my; while read my; do [[ $my == *$1* ]] && echo $my; done; }

And after running that, you can pipe the output of any command to grep :)

Categories: IBM, SVC, V7000 Tags:

Firefox, Greasemonkey and Google+

July 8th, 2011 1 comment

Ok, a lot of people are asking me how they can get in at Google+.
They have an invite, or someone shared a post with them, but Google keeps telling them they have no capacity and they should check back later. Well, sometimes there are openings, you just have to check at the right time. And who wants to sit and hit F5 all the time, right? ;)

Enter Firefox and Greasemonkey. There is a userscript which will keep refreshing by clicking the “You+” button once every 10 seconds. If the page changes, and shows the input fields and combo boxes for actually accepting your invitation, it’ll stop refreshing. So the only thing you’ll have to do is check sometimes, if it’s already there.

Prerequisites:
- You need to have a Google account with a profile and a Gmail address bound
- You need to be logged in to the Google account to which the invite or share was sent
- Google needs to be displayed in English

Here’s the userscript, which some Tweaker on GoT wrote:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Google+ Invitation
// @namespace http://gathering.tweakers.net
// @description Checks whether you are logged into Google +. Otherwise the script will “push” on the “U +” button for you after 30 seconds.
// @include https://plus.google.com/*
// ==/UserScript==
if (document.body.innerHTML.indexOf(‘Keep Me Posted’) !== -1) {
setTimeout(function() {
document.location.href = ‘https://plus.google.com/?tab=XX’;
}, 10000);
} else alert(‘Welcome at Google+!’);

- Install Greasemonkey add-on in Firefox
- Install the script above in Greasemonkey
- Go to https://plus.google.com/?tab=XX
- It’ll automatically start refreshing

This works flawlessly if all prereqs are met. Did this for multiple friends so far.

Good luck!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Terms of Service and privacy

May 12th, 2011 No comments

Twitpic just announced they now have an agreement with the Brithish Wenn. Wenn can now use and sell uploaded pictures of Twitpic users to third parties. Is this bad? I think it is. So I just deleted all my pictures there, and “deleted” my account and moved to Mobypicture, who currently is about the only one I can find who has a decent TOS (for now).

So what can Wenn do with your pictures? Here’s the excerpt from Twitpic’s TOS, which were changed yesterday:

You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

Source
By the way, here’s the old TOS, which were last changed February 12th, 2010.

Now, what does this all mean? A simple example says it all. Imagine, you upload a picture of yourself showing a new t-shirt. Wenn sells a database with all pics to an advertiser. Advertiser browses through the database and thinks you look good, and will be perfect for a page sized ad in a porn magazine. There’s nothing you can do about it. :)

Another example. You shoot a picture of something special, Wenn sells that picture for a lot of money to all news station’s around the world, after which it’s used everywhere on paper and TV. Normally you have copyright, and you should get paid for your copyright. Now you get nothing.

Of course a lot of people will say; “Well, don’t upload pictures to the net then if you don’t want them to be publicly used”. That’s my opinion too. I’m always careful about what I upload so it doesn’t show sensitive information, however what Twitpic is now doing is something completely different, and in my opinion everyone should abandon the service, and move to a service who doesn’t do this stuff. Moving to yFrog? Don’t:

Any media that you submit to Imageshack may be redistributed throughout the Imageshack network of sites, the internet, and other media channels, which may include third-party advertisers.

Source

Mobypicture located in Amsterdam then? Looks safe (for now):

Content Ownership
All rights of uploaded content by our users remain the property of our users and those rights can in no means be sold or used in a commercial way by Mobypicture or affiliated third party partners without consent from the user.

But they have (of course) the right to update it at anytime, and they say this about it:

This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time for any reason; each version will apply to information collected while it was in place. We will notify you of any material changes to our Privacy Policy by posting the new Privacy Policy on our Site. You are advised to consult this Privacy Policy regularly for any changes.

See the bold part? It’s interesting. It means that every image you upload now is safe, because it was uploaded under the current TOS.

Source
Your content is yours

 

Is this something new? No it isn’t. Just look at Facebook’s TOS:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).

Source

See? It’s exactly the same thing. So it kinda annoys me so many people are uploading for example their kids pictures. Don’t be surprised if your kid suddenly shows up on a massive advertising campaign for diapers and you won’t be a able to get your kid removed from it, or see a penny for it.

This is what happens if you don’t read Terms of Service ;)

VDI and IOPS

May 5th, 2011 2 comments

A few months ago I was asked to join a project which was investigating a VDI implementation for our company. I was happy to join, because I know VDI solutions can be array killers. So it’s best to join such a project in it’s earliest stage, to provide input and see where pitfalls might be. The chosen VDI solution was Citrix Xenserver, and apparently it wasn’t that early to join the project. Most parameters were already set. It had already entered the technical phase, where we were asked what it would cost and what we needed to build a working environment. In that “early” stage it got very clear to me that we were talking about virtualizing only developer desktops. We talked a bit about it, put down some remarks about which info was missing for doing a good design.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. We got a simple question. :)

“Can you or can you not handle the IOPS if we virtualize all developer workstations, and if not, how much money do we need to put in so we can handle them. Here are the specs you can use for your design, please tell us fast.”

The given specs;
- 125 developers, all running two workstations. Effectively we’re virtualizing 250 workstations
- All static images, no linked clones
- Peak IOPS “calculated” by architects: 30
- Those peak IOPS were only to be seen during a so called bootstorm
- Provisioned size per workstation: 1x 30GB, so we’re talking around 7.5TB
- Current infrastructure must never be impacted by the VDI implementation

We leaned back in our chairs, and told them 30 iops was way too low for a developers. Furthermore, the given provisioned size is low, but we were told it was handled by virtualizing applications.

Because the answer was needed that fast, we decided to up the number of IOPS to 100 peak. And double the provisioned size. We’re running SVC, so to keep cost low and make sure our current backend controllers wouldn’t see the IOPS of the VDI solution, we chose a DS5300 containing 146GB FC disks, purely for running VDI images. Remember, no real design here, just pulling up numbers, and matching them to a controller. We told management this was our initial design, but we wanted to look into it more.

I talked to @rootwyrm about this, and he confirmed the given specs were low. Too low. After talking some more, I decided to go back to the project, and get some names of developers, so we could monitor them for a few days, and after that could analyse real data. What we absolutely did not want, was design with some specs given to the project by the vendor of the virtualization solution. We wanted real life data from our own developers. So after a few days of logging 5 random developers, we got interesting numbers. Very interesting numbers.

Turns out 3 out of 5 developers have around 30-50 IOPS sustained. All day long. And that’s when they’re not behind their desk, but are in meetings. When they start working, IOPS shoot up, to be around 100 sustained. Serious work, compiling or debugging; 200. I’ve also seen 300-400 sustained for hours. Largest peak measured was 600. There goes the 30 IOPS we were given to work with. :)

Here’s a graphed example, the sample shown here is a single developer, during a 4 hour timespan.

Disk Transfers/Sec for a developer workstation

VDI IOPS

Same story for the given capacity specs. All developers are at least running a partition of 60GB. And they need it. It’s kinda hard to virtualize and stream local Oracle installations and Tomcat servers. ;)

I don’t even want to know how many people got in big problems due to just calculating with the specs the virtualization vendor gave them, and not measuring themselves. It’s going to be a big problem if you invested in running this for 250 users, the POC and all tests succeed, and when rolling out in production starts you come to the conclusion your arrays can’t keep up and you’ve paved a road to disaster. Then go and tell upper management you need a few bucks more. Not funny.

We’re back to drawing board. Logging more users for analysing next week.
Hope you guys out there do the same as we did, never assume. Because it will make an ass out of u and me. :)

 

Categories: SAN Tags: , , ,

iPhone 4: Not so scratch resistant!

August 15th, 2010 No comments

After two weeks of use, I must say that I’m totally unimpressed by the so called revolutionary glass on the iPhone 4 at all. Apple advertises the glass like this:

All the breakthrough technology in iPhone 4 is situated between two glossy panels of aluminosilicate glass — the same type of glass used in the windscreens of helicopters and high-speed trains. Chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, the glass is ultra-durable and more scratch resistant than ever. It’s also recyclable.

Turns out it’s utter bullshit.
I own a 3G, a 3GS, and an iPad. Always carried the phones, not the iPad of course ;) , in my pants. No protection whatsoever. Just let it ride solo, so no keys or other stuff in the same pocket. Result, not a single scratch on the screens, seriously, nothing. And I used the 3G and 3GS both around a year. I clean all my iDevices with a
ShaggyMac cloth. Never used cleaning stuff on them. Just polish them with the cloth. Never use the cloth for something else. If it’s not running iOS, it’s not touching it :)

Then I get an iPhone 4 with glass which should be way more durable than anything previously created on earth if you believe Apple. Put it in my pants, just like the other phones. No scratches. Of course it got greasy, and I cleaned it with the cloth. Few hours later I’m standing in full sunlight, and what do I notice? Micro scratches, surely from the cleaning/wiping action.

First thing I thought, my cloth must have been seriously filthy. So I took a look at the cloth, nothing. To be sure I took a brand new cloth, and softly wiped the phone again. Only to walk outside, and see even more micro scratches. At that point I took the iPad, rubbed it seriously hard with the same cloth to clean it. Took the iPad outside, nothing. Spotless. Same for 3G and 3GS.

Just having discovered the glass which Apple used in their new toy apparently sucks, I went on a search on the net. Turns out I’m not alone. After reading half an hour it seems as if half of the owners are complaining about the glass being not scratch resistive. So now what. Return it? Never clean it anymore? Or should I for the first time in owning iDevices go for the screen protectors? Come on, that would suck on a phone with this price tag.

Antennagate was a media hype in my humble opinion. From the emerging blog and forum posts on the net, it sure seems Apple is going to catch some more flak soon, and even get something like Glassgate. :)

Maybe there will be another press conference in a month or two in which Apple announces a partnership with Zagg for free Invisibleshield’s or with Bodyguardz

Categories: Gadgets Tags: , ,

iPhone 4 and Deathgrip

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

I know, another blog post about antennagate.
But I never bought the story as it’s told, and so I just went ahead and placed a preorder for the iPhone 4.

Last friday I got one. Immediately tested for deathgrip, and while you can see bars drop, it’s nowhere near to what the press and competition is telling the world.
First question you would have to ask yourself; is it true that this turns your phone into an unusable gadget? Because if it doesn’t, and I can still place calls without dropping them, why would I care if my signal drops 1 or 2 bars?

Well… it isn’t true. I haven’t had a single dropped call so far. Is there no such thing as “Death grip” then? Sure there is, but it’s not a problem. If I push hard on ‘X marks the spot’, it will drop bars. As many as 3. If you’re in an area with very bad reception, that can be enough to get you the dreaded and feared “No service” status. In a more normal situation, say medium to bad reception, it’ll drop to 1 bar, but it won’t drop the signal, nor does it drop your call. I have to grip it in a really unusual way, and on top of that, push kinda hard to get some bars to disappear. Not happening in real life. If that is your normal way of using a phone, you would suffer from RSI after a conversation of half an hour.. So it seems Steve was right with his famous response: “Just don’t hold it that way”. Because if you don’t push hard enough on exactly the right spot, nothing will happen (ok, it might drop a bar if you just touch it with sweaty hands). And if you want to do that, you’ll look pretty silly holding the phone to your ear like that. ;)

Then I took a look at my company Blackberry Bold 9700. You know, the company who got really pissed at Apple for using them as an example to tell other brands had the same problem. They were in total denial. “No sir, our phones don’t do that!” Well, they do.. Just shot a small video of me gripping, sorry holding, the BB in the same “death grip” and presto. Say bye to the bars.

Does it drop to “No service”, or does it drop calls? It doesn’t. Same as the iPhone 4, normal usage is no problem. If you’re not trying to force something by doing stupid grips, which aren’t happening in real life situation, all is fine. But what can we conclude on this then? Is the Blackberry going to have the same Antennagate in a few weeks from now? Of course not. Why not? People like bashing Apple. It happens to you when you get successful.

I knew I was right when I decided to go through with the preorder. So far every phone Apple released has had a huge problem according to press and trolls on the net. Also all of those problems dissapeared after the phone being a few months in it’s lifecycle. Every single one of them. Remember the cracks in the cases? Huge problem! Never heard of it after half a year. Yeah, some people had a problem, but not as many as everyone would like you to believe. The brown coloring of the back of the white phone? Non existent, never heard of it again in a later stadium. Screens bursting in peoples faces? Same story. So while Antennagate is measurable, I think it’ll go away in a few months. Maybe I’m wrong, but this looks exactly the same as all releases so far. It’s just that this one is bigger in the press. :)

Disclaimer; Although I did a fair share of calls, and to my current opinion there is no problem, I might be a little early and maybe I’ll throw the iPhone 4 out of the window if next week calls start dropping. Not that I think it will, judging the facts now. But we never know until testing in the long term proves the facts. But after short term testing I’ll stick to this post. Over hyped. There is no antennagate.

Brocade DCX webtools authentication problem

May 31st, 2010 9 comments

Recently we had some problems with DCFM suddenly marking all virtual switches on all of our DCX directors with a nice tag of “Product status unknown”. Solving it was not hard to do in the end, but it took some time going through support and all. In this post I will explain how the problem looked like, and what the solution was.
On day one all virtual switches defined on one of our DCX’s, and the chassis, were marked with this unkown status. Since we use command line for most of the time, were busy with other things at that time and it didn’t disrupt operation, we didn’t directly look in to the problem. The next day another director did the same, and the day after that another two did it too. DCFM was constantly spitting out messages that it had security login violations. The day after the first one revealed this problem, we started looking into it, and found this errors in the logs:
datestamp, [FW-1342], 23858, SLOT 6 | FID id, WARNING, vFabricName, Sec Login Violation, is above high boundary(High=2, Low=1). Current value is 6 Violation(s)/minute.
datestamp, [SEC-1193], 23859, SLOT 6 | FID id, INFO, vFabricName, Security violation: Login failure attempt via HTTP. IP Addr: violating ipaddress
datestamp, [SEC-1193], 23860, SLOT 6 | FID id, INFO, vFabricName, Security violation: Login failure attempt via HTTP. IP Addr: violating ipaddress
datestamp, [SEC-1193], 23861, SLOT 6 | FID id, INFO, vFabricName, Security violation: Login failure attempt via HTTP. IP Addr: violating ipaddress
datestamp, [SEC-1193], 23862, SLOT 6 | FID id, INFO, vFabricName, Security violation: Login failure attempt via HTTP. IP Addr: violating ipaddress

The violating ipaddress was the address of the DCFM server. So I fired up a browser from my workstation and connected to webtools. Webtools showed up fine with the authentication screen:

So we use the user which is defined for DCFM, and it starts authenticating:

And after a second or two we get an invalid password error:

This happens starting Webtools from DCFM server, from workstations, from every vlan, and with every user we tried. We’re not using RADIUS authentication, this is normal local switch authentication. All of the tried users are working if you use them logging in through SSH. My guess at that time was that the authentication between the http server on the directors and the local switch database was broken, due to a bug. Contacted a Brocade engineer directly, he made some calls but no one had ever seen this strange behaviour. Logged a call with IBM support (directors are OEM’d by IBM) and then the hassle of logs and dumps sending and answering your standard L1 questions all came by. They purely focussed on DCFM losing it’s password in the discovery setup screen. To me it was obvious why it was gone there, DCFM was told it was an invalid user, so it clears the field. IBM L1 support however was persisting this was where the problem was. After persuading them to dispatch the call to Brocade, things sped up a bit.

First bullet on the action plan was to upgrade our Java plugin. For FOS 6.3.0 the plugin should be at least at 1.6.0.13 or later. Of course that didn’t work because it already was at 1.6.0.13. After telling them the complete story, apparently things got dropped in the conversation between IBM and Brocade, they came up with a HA failover. Effectively rebooting the CTP’s.

So we did:

SwitchName:vFabricName:username> hashow
Local CP (Slot 6, CP0): Active, Warm Recovered
Remote CP (Slot 7, CP1): Standby, Healthy
HA enabled, Heartbeat Up, HA State synchronized
SwitchName:vFabricName:username> hafailover
Local CP (Slot 6, CP0): Active, Warm Recovered
Remote CP (Slot 7, CP1): Standby, Healthy
HA enabled, Heartbeat Up, HA State synchronized
Warning: This command is being run on a redundant control processor(CP)
system, and this operation will cause the active CP to reset.
Therefore all existing telnet sessions are required to be restarted.

Are you sure you want to fail over to the standby CP [y/n]? y
Forcing Failover ...

SwitchName:vFabricName:username> hashow
Local CP (Slot 7, CP1): Active, Warm Recovered
Remote CP (Slot 6, CP0): Non-Redundant
SwitchName:vFabricName:username> hashow
Local CP (Slot 7, CP1): Active, Warm Recovered
Remote CP (Slot 6, CP0): Standby, Healthy
HA enabled, Heartbeat Up, HA State not in sync
SwitchName:vFabricName:username> hashow
Local CP (Slot 7, CP1): Active, Warm Recovered
Remote CP (Slot 6, CP0): Standby, Healthy
HA enabled, Heartbeat Up, HA State synchronized
SwitchName:vFabricName:username>

After this we tried Webtools, and it worked. DCFM picked it up immediately, without any changes it discovered the failed over DCX. Interesting to see however was the fact in discovery setup the password was still blanked for this DCX, although it was re-discovered automatically. Just filled the password in there again, and it accepted it. Field is now filled.

Problem solved. Although there’s no answer from Brocade yet explaining why this happened. Expecting a note in upcoming releasenotes somewhere :)

FIY:
This happened on:
Brocade DCX running FOS code 6.3.0b
DCFM 10.3.3 build 11

Categories: SAN Tags: , , ,

iPad, first impressions

May 29th, 2010 No comments

Since the rumours about an Apple tablet started, I had all my hopes set for a great tablet, doing all we techies need. I read about all kind of cool things, like multi-user with face recognition and on and on. It would be everything you could wish for. Of course everyone knows it couldn’t possible have it all if it really was released, but still, lots to dream about.

Then the announcement came. iPad really exists. Great! I gotta get me one! Then the bad things came. No flash. No USB/SD. No 16:9 screen. No multi-user. No camera. And the list got on and on. In fact, it was a bit disappointing. So I thought I didn’t need it. It got released in the US, and all the fanboys jumped on it. Since they do justice to its name, all reviews were hallelujah. It was great. Yeah. Right. I’m not buying your review, and I’m not buying an iPad.
Later on there were more decent reviews. Also of people who I think are smart enough to see through all the fanboy talk, and hey, the conclusion was they liked it! What happened?
It turned out to be quite simple. You just don’t look at it as a replacement for a laptop. It just isn’t. So that got me thinking again. What do I do with my iPhone during the evening at home? Surf, mail, twitter, check news. When the circle is complete, I put it back in my pocket until the first opportunity. Be it a commercial, be it a smoke, whatever. If there’s an opportunity it comes out again and the circle starts again. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do that in the same style on a bigger screen, with the same experience?

So the iPad comes to Europe. For me an opportunity to either get it in the UK, or in Germany. I have postal addresses in both countries, a friend who was willing to pick one up for me on a postal address in the UK, and Germany’s border is at 10 minutes away for me. Thus enough opportunity to get me one. I decided to give it a shot at Gravis Düsseldorf. 27th of May I got an email in which they told me they couldn’t tell me how much they would have on stock at 28th of May, release date. You believe it? I certainly don’t. But, said the email, we will open at 08.00! At that point I told myself that I wouldn’t get in my car and get in line, I would wait a week. Uhuh. On release day I got up at 05.40, took a shower, drank some coffee, and left for Düsseldorf at 06.40. I was at the shop at 07.15, and 9th in row. At 07.30 the row had grown to about 50 people, and at 07.45 the row was at least a 100 people. So I got lucky, and went home with a 32GB WiFi model. 3G isn’t needed for me. Plan is to only use it at home or at work, and if not, I can tether with MyWi on my 3GS (works flawlessly, already tested).

About the iPad then.
First thing I noticed is that it was in fact smaller than I had thought. I had never seen one out in the wild before, so now that I was looking at it, it seemed small. My imagination has misled me all the time thinking it would be an A4 size, but it’s smaller.
Second thing I immediately noticed, was its weight. 680 gram is not that much on paper. But holding it on it’s lower left corner for more than a few minutes will tell you otherwise. Is it heavy? No. It’s a relative thing. You just can’t expect a tablet with a screen size of 9.7″ and a battery life of 10 hours to be any lighter in my opinion. If Apple can’t do it, I’m curious who can make it any lighter. I guess most of its weight comes from the glass and battery. The rest is aluminium and some prints and chips. Is it too heavy then? No, but don’t expect to hold it in free air with one hand for long. You’re going to seek for a place where the iPad can rest, and spare youre arms and wrists.
After booting it and getting it activated I felt a bit disappointed. Hey, it’s an iPhone. It’s just larger. In fact, that’s the reaction almost everyone who sees it for the first time. Now what am I going to do with this? After configuring most options, it was lying on my desk. Shiny new gadget. Every 10 minutes pick it up then put it away after a few minutes of fiddling with it. I have to admit, I had a few times during the first hours that I was thinking about selling it. It’s a lot of money for just a gadget after all.
Then the evening fell, and I was lying on the couch. Falling into my daily “surf/mail/twitter/check news” routine. Then it hit me. Wow. What a device. Everything is just so much easier on the iPad compared to the iPhone. And don’t forget how easy an iPhone is to use! The screen is just so much bigger, there’s a completely different surfing experience! No more zooming to click on that tiny little link in the bottom of a page to browse to the next page of a review or a forum. Just point at it and presto! Flash? I haven’t had any problem yet. I just don’t have a lot of flash sites in my daily routines.
First app I downloaded was Twittelator Pro for iPad. It’s completely different from the iPhone app. Whole new layout. Second app downloaded was IMDB. As a moviefreak I need this app. It’s way better on iPad then on iPhone. It’s actually fun to browse around on IMDB now, instead of just looking up a movie you need info on. Other apps I tried was Marvel Comics, and BBC news. All are great.
Disappointed though in iBooks. One of the reasons I bought the iPad was for it being an eBook reader. Since the iBookstore is only available in the US right now, and I’m not going to buy books in the US store, there isn’t much reading to do. Easily solved by downloading epubs though, and there are a few books residing at my iPad now. Reading is cool, not straining on the eyes, but you have to find a comfortable position, since I already told you about the weight. Also gave Amazon’s Kindle app a try, tried a demo book, but it just doesn’t look as flashy as Apple’s iBook reader. And hey, it’s a gadget, remember? So it needs to have some eye-candy in my opinion.

After two days using the iPad it starts to come together. I initially bought it with the idea to give it a try, and if it didn’t suit me I would resell it. No worries at all about throwing away money, because they’re still not released in the Netherlands and they’re still worth their weight in gold here. However… It’s not going to leave this house with someone else carrying it but me. :)
Yeah, it’s great. Yes it has huge disadvantages, which will probably be partially solved in further releases. But at this point I just have to give it to Apple. Great job once again. It’s a keeper. It just has to fit into your personal routine and it’s an add-on to your computer usage. In my opinion there is a gap between smartphone and netbook/laptop. Smartphone is great for some quick surfing, in fact the iPhone is so good at it I use it all the time and find myself hardly touching the laptop in the house for daily routines. But it’s small. So small you find yourself always browsing mobile news sites. And that problem is solved with the iPad. My routines shifted to the iPad right now. Still using the iPhone a lot too though. When I wake up in the morning, first thing I do is grab my iPhone. Why not the iPad? It’s downstairs :) . If the iPad is 10 meters further while I’m sitting on the couch, I’m to lazy to get it when I want to check Twitter and I just grab the iPhone. But most of the time I’m doing my things on the iPad now.

My conclusion after two days; if you can miss the money and find yourself surfing all evening on your iPhone currently, it’s a go. It’s just that, a bigger iPhone, way more relaxed with cooler apps which use the space better. Sure there will be Windows tablets at the horizon in a few months, but I’m quite sure they absolutely aren’t going to give you this experience. The OS simply isn’t designed for this touch thingy, and it will take them a long time to come alongside, if they ever do.

Way to go Apple, just dropped my bank account with 600 euros, and more to come (accessories and apps).

Categories: Gadgets Tags: ,

Let’s try this blogging thing

May 29th, 2010 No comments

About a year ago I started twittering. I liked it. Suddenly I got lots of info from people which were interested in the same thing. Storage, virtualization and other techie stuff. But Twitter has it’s disadvantages. 140 characters max. Of course. It’s understandable and pure logic. Why else call it microblogging. But lots of times I wanted to say more then 140 characters, and other people just posted a link to their blog. Easy as that.
I played with the idea of starting my own more then once. But I saw it coming…. Maintaining and updating a website. Been there once, but haven’t got time anymore for that. So I dropped the idea. Until I purchased an iPad yesterday. Lots of people are asking me how it is to own one. If I like it, what do I do with it, do I keep it. Once again I thought that it would be easier to just post a review on my blog. So I googled for WordPress, and hey, you have one running in a few seconds, hosted and all. Great. So that’s why I started it.
Don’t know if I will keep the blog, don’t know if I will update regularly, don’t know anything yet. We’ll see.

Oh, here’s something about me…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: