RemoteApp and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

I have been playing with VDI recently. It’s an interesting concept that is as old as the hills. For this specific application I’m trying to coax an old DOS application to continue working well past it’s sell by date. I have implemented a vsphere stack with a 2008 server along with a bunch of 32bit desktops for this single 16bit application. It seems overkill but it actually works well via RDP (with a carefully crafted window size.)

Whilst I was installing and configuring the server it reminded me that there is minimal client side configuration required. In fact if the workstations were not being used to run Office and other thick apps I would consider using thin clients or some Linux variant to connect to the server. It’s a taste of the “good old days” when people liked to have their servers locked away in air conditioned rooms and accessed via green screen terminals.

To be fair this DOS application isn’t much more advanced than the old green screens. It seems a shame to waste modern hardware on such a beast but I’m advised that replacement costs are a minimum of 6 figures. As such a single box holding the server AND workstations (with suitable backup) is a cheap and dirty solution to running 16bit programs on 64bit hardware.


north vs south

I’m at the south coast today for a meeting at work. For some reason I never sleep well in hotels so at 7am I went for a walk along the beach. I was amazed to discover hundreds of people up and about doing various pre-work things. There were a group of women exercising at a self styled boot camp, joggers, dog walkers, cyclists (and lots of good cycle paths away from roads).

There was a sign on the lawns that didn’t say “no ball games” it said “please be careful, if your ball goes onto the road it may cause an accident” – how polite.

There was a specially designated bin for BBQ’s and a sign that said “be careful, may be hot”

The whole feeling was one of a pleasant atmosphere and generally all round warm fuzzyness.

I leave to return to staffordshire this evening, its something of a contrast.

Kurzweil and Cox

Had an interesting weekend. I had the opportunity to watch Ray Kurzweil in Transcendent Man talking about his predictions for the future of mankind. I’ve read a few of Kurzweil’s books, most notably The Singularity Is Near and whilst I may not agree 100% with his predictions and time scales, I agree with the majority of what he’s saying.

I also watched episode one of Brian Cox’s Wonders Of The Universe which was about time. Not the usual time of the human scale, hours, days, years, and not even the deep time of geology where eons pass by and rock flows like water. He was talking about cosmological time, our sun orbits in our galaxy every 250 million years, the universe is 14 billion years old (with only another 15 billion years to go).

It was the strange combination of the two programs that got me to thinking. We only have 15 billion years left to experience the universe (discounting multiverse theories). We are already about halfway through.

I want Kurzweil to be right so I can spend the next billion years learning all I can about the universe and 10 billion years after that working out what to do about the last 5 billion years left!

I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit and it gives me something to aim for. I would give it a 50/50 chance of me reaching the singularity (assuming we recognise it) and a 1 in 100 chance of surviving past it. Something like a 1 in 1000 chance of seeing the end of the stelliferous era, which is pretty good odds really.

My kids I would give a 99% chance of reaching the singularity, and a 50/50 chance of living past it. If the can get past the next 100 years I would say they can choose to see the end or not as they please.

It makes me realise how insignificant my current day to day problems are, and perhaps it should give me better perspective on my life and how important my family is.