Kill a PetaByte

Back when I was just a lad, I remember that my first computer was a Commodore VIC 20.  I didn’t know anything about bits and bytes at the time; I was simply fascinated that this box could make noises, play games and could play on a TV! It was pretty cool when I was a kid and I have to say there was something about it that had me hooked.  Did you know the 20 in the VIC 20 refers to the amount of RAM it had?

At the time it had an amazing 20K!  That’s right, 20 kilobytes.  At this point I have typed about 400 characters not including spaces.  Assuming I was using 8 bits per byte; that would mean that I am using close to 3K just to store this entry so far [without pictures].  Needless to say, with only 20K, the computer that I was using as a kid was much more limited in capacity than the one I am using now which has 4GB or 4,000MB or 4,000,000KB.  That’s 200 thousand times more capacity and this is actually considered an average amount of RAM by todays standards.

I understand that 1,000 GB = 1 TB (terabyte) and 1,000 TB = 1 PB (petabyte) and that 1000 of those equals 1 EB (exabyte).  It’s amazing to think about how much storage that would really be.  I remember when we were putting in a SAN and the 500GB drives quickly added up to 7TB per shelf!  The entire rack fully populated with larger drives maxed out around 120TB I think.  Yeesh!! The crazy thing is that the next model out is bigger and it seems like there is no stop in sight.  Its getting faster too.  It used to take 5-7 minutes to load something into that 20K of memory back in the day; probably because I had to store all of my programs on audio cassette tapes [remember LOAD *.*,8,1??].

Another observation that I was making the other day is that a SAN, Storage Area Network, is commonly refered to as a filer.  As is the case for the NetApp Filers.  If you are curious; here are some specifications for the latest NetApp filers:

FAS6280 FAS6240 FAS6210
Maximum Raw Capacity 2,880TB 2,880TB 2,400TB
Maximum Disk Drives 1,440 1,440 1,200

Well! Would you look at that!  The 6210 NetApp filer supports up to 2400TB!! Why thats 2.4 PB… very interesting.  Now I wonder why NetApp has decided to not state 2.4 PB in their technical specifications. Perhaps it is because the industry is too young and nobody has heard of a PB yet.  Or perhaps it is because they are actually selling a “peta-filer”.  I guess whoever was assigning prefixes to large theoretical number sizes never considered that one.  Whatever you do, don’t attach a child node to a peta filer! LOL! Hey, don’t judge me, I’m merely pointing out an anomaly in a changing system.


Intro to Powershell

I’m not sure if a lot of people out there are using powershell.  If you are working in a technical position I think that you should definitely investigate the possibility of using it to manage day to day tasks.

Microsoft has been requiring all of their software releases to include an interface for powershell.  This has been especially evident in the newer operating systems as well as Exchange and Active Directory.

What I hear most often is, “Well it seems complicated and I can’t program anyway; its really hard.” In actual fact its really easy; much easier than driving a car or riding a bike.  Don’t believe me?  Try it.

From any Windows 7 (or newer windows computer) try clicking on start and then type in “powershell” into the little run box and press enter.

Start - Run - Powershell

So… thats it… powershell should open and you can start typing in commands.  If you are familiar with DOS commands they should work here (almost) like they always have.  (try dir, cd, copy etc..).  Also, probably due to a lot of complaining, you can use unix type commands (try ls, cd, cp).  Both should work!  Finally!! Forward slash AND backslash work… which… makes sense.

So you are probably thinking to yourself, “Big deal, you said this was easy, that stuff is really hard.” Did you know that all of the commands in powershell are actual verb-noun pairs?  In fact, even the short commands like the ones I listed above are actually aliases for verb-noun pairs.  For example, dir or ls are ACTUALLY aliases for a command called Get-ChildItem; Don’t believe me?  Type “alias dir” and you should see something like:

PS C:\data> alias dir
CommandType     Name                            Definition
-----------     ----                            ----------
Alias           dir                             Get-ChildItem

Hmm… Thats interesting.

So what is going on here?  Why is that useful?  Well, the answer is really quite simple.  Those old commands were made back in the olden days when computers couldn’t even store a program with a name greater than 8 characters!  Like 20 years ago! The nerds of back in the day love their commands and they can still use them and newbies can jump right in and get their feet wet.  The basic fact that they are verb-noun pairs means that you can GUESS at what the commands actually are.  For example type get-  (that’s get and a dash) and start pressing the tab key in powershell.  Did you notice that starts suggesting commands to you?  Pretty cool huh?  Whats even more important is that you can read the noun and probably GUESS at what each command does; even without a book.  Other cool verbs to try are (set-, start-, export-, stop-, select- and many more!! You can even add your own).

Alright, so whats next?  Well… I hope I’m keeping you interested and you are learning quickly.  After all, thats the point of this exercise.  In my opinion, you need to learn how to use 1 command to actually learn all of powershell; but understanding about 4 of them would actually take you to the next level.  So what is that command?


No, that wasn’t a typo, I want you to learn help!  Help has many names in powershell.  Its also known as Get-Help (verb-noun pair 😉 and has an alias of man for the linux nerds; for normal humans “man” actually means “manual”.

So when you type get-help, help tells you how to use help! I know it all seems a bit redundant but you need to wrap your head around the concept of how help works.  EVERY single command in powershell should be in the manual and hence… you don’t need the book.  If you want to see examples of help for a particular command, you would add “-examples” to the end of your help command and the shell will actually tell you what to type in. The help command would actually tell you more about this if you wanted to see the FULL information about help… to do that type:

help -full

At this point you should get the same information that you got before plus another 3 pages of information about help and using help.  I STRONGLY recommend you read this if you want to learn powershell in any capacity.

The next thing you need to learn are the following commands:


How do you learn those commands?  Don’t make me smack you! Type:

get-help get-psdrive -full

Get it?

Its all pretty easy, I’ve already given you everything you actually need to know in order to “learn powershell”. To make it a bit more fun, how about a real example?

Now lets say your friend is bugging you. You don’t like it, but its your friend and you don’t want to actually hurt their feelings.  What is a good way to annoy them?  How about opening 30 copies of notepad on their computer?  That would be great!! It would annoy them a little bit and you get to use your powershell skills to make the job easy.  Type the following command:

for ($x=0; $x -lte 30; $x++) { Start-Process notepad }

Press enter and voila!  You just opened 30 copies of notepad.  Sweet! So what is going on there?  How did I do that.  Well the command above is actually something called a loop.  The first part says set the letter X to the number 0, make sure X is less-than-equal (-lte) than 30 and each time add 1 to X ($x++).  The part in between the curly brackets is what we want to do 30 times.  In this case we specified a command to start notepad.  Pretty nifty and fun too. If you want to learn more about for loops try:

 get-help about_for

You might think to yourself, that was actually not a nice thing to do to your friend and you don’t want to have all those notepads open on their computer and actually you want to clean it all up for them.  Well… in that case you would type something like:

Get-Process notepad | Stop-Process

Wow!! Cool, it just closed all those notepads in one command!! How did that work?  Well… the command above introduces a concept of something called “the pipeline”.  Yes, I know the pipeline is something that surfers strive to ride, and good for them; in this case, it means something completely different.  The “pipe” is that “|” character.  It basically says, take everything from the last command and send it to the next command.  The command above instructs the computer to find all the processes running on the computer that have notepad running and take those OBJECTS and pass them to the stop-process command.  You could of course just typed “get-process notepad” and it would have done something different.

The pipeline is a pretty cool concept. Imagine all of those verb-noun pairs and linking them all together.  The possibilities are endless; I hope you benefited from my powershell introduction. Obviously some of the commands in powershell are dangerous; so be careful.  I wonder what the stop-computer command does?

Happy powershelling!


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7 Reasons For A Personal Website

Having a website of your own equals entering into an invaluable communication environment. There are at least 7 reasons why it is highly advisable for you to be present online:

1. Represents your personal profile

A website can be your virtual portrait, showing off your personal self to the world on a 24/7 basis.  Among the most popular ways of presenting your personality online is keeping a webblog (otherwise known as online diary) or a photo gallery, where your friends can stay up-to-date with your daily living.

2. Spreads your voice across the world

A website can be your global “tribune” where you are able to share your knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with people who have common interests, but with whom you might not otherwise have crossed paths. A very popular idea-voicing tool is the discussion board, better known as “forum”. You can also have a guestbook on your site, where people can discuss your postings.

3. Lets you be in touch with people at a distance

A website can be a meeting place for making new acquaintances with people of different religion, nationality and age, as well as for keeping in touch with friends who may be on the other side of the world. Thanks to the almost unlimited online communication possibilities you can conduct one-to-one conversations with many different people directly from your website.

4. Broadens disabled people’s interaction with the world

A website empowers people with limited access, due to handicap or illness, to broaden their communication with others. A website can be a physically disabled person’s door to the dynamic world, allowing him/her to bridge over the difficulties of having a “different” everyday life. It can even be their office, where they can present and deliver certain home-made products/services directly from their living room.

5. Creates a web skill development environment

A website can introduce you to the secrets of www. The contemporary web design technologies have brought the art of creating a website just a few clicks away from the inexperienced user. Thanks to the popular WYSWYG(what you see is what you get) web design tools, absolutely everyone (irrespective of age or education degree) can build their own web page without any previous experience.

6. Makes extra profit for you with minimum investment on your part

A website can make residual profit for you, while you are sleeping or enjoying your free time. Thanks to the up-to-date techniques for bringing traffic to your website, you can earn easy money by simply having visitors click on certain product/service promos or links that are relevant to your site content pages (e.g. Google Adsense/Adwords ad solutions) without any initial investment.

7. Makes you a member of the biggest community of the world

A website is a must-have personal attribute nowadays, just like mobile phones and computers are. The fast developing technologies have converted having a website from a whim into a modern necessity. As of today, almost everyone has a web site, whereas twice as many people are expected to be having their own personal space in the global World Wide Web cosmos in the near future. Be forward-thinking, join this trend now.


Hey, have you heard of animoto?  I tried it today. I found it easy to use and fairly powerful.  Anybody can use it to create a free 30 second video.  Here’s the one I made: 1MB Corporation

Pretty easy to use and gives me a chance to try the video features of WordPress.  When you visit this site for the first time, you don’t see all of the little customizations that you go through when you set up the word press software.  So far, I still like it; although it would have been nicer to <EMBED> the video instead.  I guess that’s what the HTML button is for?

Oh yeah, and here’s the link to animoto.

So I was not really impressed with the wordpress video inserting.  I added the JetPack feature and hooked this site up to wordpress; apparently that lets me embed youtube videos directly inline.  Lets see:

…well isn’t that nifty. That one is much easier to read.



Online Journal for Jason C Freeman

I hope to use this site for posting articles and stories of funny things that happen to me.  Building the site using wordpress. So far so good.  I like the interface, editor and customizations have been pretty simple so far.  I like that it gives you direct control over the CSS and HTML.