My digital self

Me, digitallyThe short version: on Xbox Live, the online network that allows you to play games and connect with friends via your Xbox 360 over the internet, you have an avatar. This avatar is a digital representation of yourself and is actually used in some games to represent your character. For example, in Guitar Hero 5, my avatar is on stage rocking out with a bass guitar (along with Magdalena, and any other friends I might be playing with).

With the introduction of avatars a few years ago, Microsoft gave users the ability to customize not only the physical appearance (sex, face, height etc) but also let you dress for success. You’ll notice that my avatar has a beard and kinda looks like me, and wears a Cleveland Indians hat, jeans Adidas sneakers and a black hoodie. Or, if you’re viewing this after September 15th, 2010, I could be wearing something entirely different. That’s also important to note: I actually take the time to change how I look online if I get bored, or no longer think that my mini-me represents me accurately anymore. According to the last paragraph in Randy’s excellent article about the Avatar Marketplace, he does the same thing too. I bet a fair few people do.

Here’s my idea, which is actually two ideas rolled into one. I would like the ability to dress my avatar how I like, then click a button and purchase those clothes in real life. Conversely, I’d like to buy some new Girls Clothing in real life, and receive an Xbox code that I can use to unlock the digital equivalent online.

Considering Microsoft have arrangements with a lot of recognized brands already, including Adidas, Quicksilver, Diesel, Burton and Roxy, as well as the facilities to enable online trade (with both real currency and Microsoft Points, the online currency used within Live for micro-transactions), it wouldn’t be much of a leap to connect these up.

Vodafone, you’re making things difficult

In a few weeks my contract with Vodafone is expiring. This coincides with the (suspected) release of the iPhone 4G.

My iPad is using Telstra Next-G for mobile coverage, so I used the SpeedTest iPhone application to check each carrier’s connectivity from my office.

Each test was run once, so the results might vary if I used actual science and statistics to even things out, but that doesn’t reflect my real-life usage, so I opted for the “one chance to impress me” approach.

Download Upload
Telstra 1429 kbps 252 kbps
Vodafone 946 kbps 103 kbps

As you can see, Telstra’s network was about 1.5x faster downloading, and 2.5x faster uploading. Certainly, they’re different devices, but I think it’s comparable.

I just wish Telstra wasn’t, well, Telstra.

BarCamp 4

On Saturday I attended BarCamp 4 at East Perth TAFE. It was a really well organised event (Matt and Darcy did a great job) and the content presented by the speakers was really engaging and interesting.

I saw Jessica Ender’s talk on form design as well as Samuel Spencer’s talk on the Australian Bureau of Statistics and their adoption of open data formats for delivering data sets to the public.

My talk was on after lunch, and I think me wandering around in a blue gi drew a little bit of attention (which if I’m being honest, I was banking on) and had people interested. Aaron helped me with the talk and received a few knocks to the head as thanks – his noggin was determined to meet the carpet-covered-concrete as often as it could.

I talked about the overlap I see between my jiu-jitsu training and every day business life, and my hope is that I’ll get the audience thinking about all the areas of their lives, which they may have previously considered insular or separate, and how they might in fact be connected and relevant.

I personally had a great time at the event, and The Frontier Group will be sponsoring it again in the future. I was disappointed that another engagement meant I couldn’t stay for the whole day, but I was very pleased with what I did get to partake in. There were a few of us pressuring Matt to plan for the next BarCamp in 6 months, but we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve uploaded the slides from my talk if you’d like to check them out.

Technical explorer

Today we bought a new network switch for work. It’s a managed switch and provides a few different ways you can configure it, including telnet, SSH and a web interface. It’s a Cisco/Linksys SRW2024, which is part of Cisco’s small business networking equipment offering.

I’m configuring it to have two VLANs; one for regular IP traffic and the other for our iSCSI network. I managed to lock myself out of the web interface by assigning all the ports to one of the two VLANs I’d created, and not leaving any ports attached to the default VLAN. This default VLAN had the management IP is attached to it.

Thankfully my new Acer Aspire X1800 desktop (which by the way, for $398 is a totally awesome Ubuntu desktop) has a COM port, so I connected up the serial cable and used screen to bring up a console connection:

screen /dev/ttyS0 38400

With this I could log in, then access the lcli command to give me a more meaningful console.

srw2024# configure
srw2024(config)# interface ethernet g24
srw2024(config-if)# switchport access vlan 1
srw2024(config-if)# exit
srw2024(config)# exit
srw2024# show vlan

Vlan       Name                   Ports                Type     Authorization 
---- ----------------- --------------------------- ------------ ------------- 
 1           1                 g24,ch(1-8)            other       Required    
 2         DATA               g(1-7,13-20)          permanent     Required    
 3         ISCSI              g(9-12,21-23)         permanent     Required    


With that I had successfully removed the port from the ISCSI VLAN and replaced it into the default VLAN, making the web management console available.

I’ve never played around with Cisco gear before, but I suspect that this is similar to how IOS works.

I was happy that, even without any IOS experience, I was able to dig about inside the switch and get it back to being usable again. Now to try and attach g24 to multiple VLANs.