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Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 System Requirements

Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 is based on Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition. This high-performance computing (HPC) solution supports high-performance hardware and industry standards such as MPI-2 and RDMA over Ethernet and Infiniband, as well as MPICH. Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 also includes an integrated job scheduler and cluster resource management. Supported processors include:
AMD Opteron
AMD Athlon 64
Intel Xeon with Intel EM64T
Intel Pentium with Intel EM64T
Minimum System Requirements
Minimum CPU
x64 architecture computer with Intel Pentium or Xeon family processors with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) processor architecture; AMD Opteron family processors; AMD Athlon family processors; compatible processor(s)
Minimum RAM
512 MB
Multiprocessor Support
Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 supports up to four processors per server. Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition, supports up to four processors per server. Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, supports up to eight processors per server.
Minimum Disk Space for Setup
4 GB
Disk Volumes
Up to 4
Network Interface Card
At least one network interface card (NIC) is required. If a private network is used, the head node requires at least two NICs, and compute nodes at least one. Each node may also require a high-speed NIC for a Message Passing Interface (MPI) network.
Software Requirements
The head and compute nodes for Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 can be any of the following operating systems:
Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition1
Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition
Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition
Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 Editions
The remote administration and job scheduling components are automatically installed on the head node of the compute cluster but can also be installed on a remote workstation to simplify administration and scheduling. The supported operating systems for installation of the remote components are:
Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or R2
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

Mac mini Core Solo: The good stuff and a peek inside

New_mac_miniDespite my previous two posts on the topic, there are things to like about the Mac mini, and so I’ve decided not to return the machine. I still think it is overpriced and I also maintain that the Front Row performance over Bonjour is shoddy at best. However, if you keep all your media on the Mac mini, it works nicely as a little media server offering the local media up to my TV. My only complaint about that is that Front Row doesn’t recognize my iPod and the content on it when it is mounted on the Mac mini, even though I can navigate and play all that content via iTunes itself.

I also discovered that the 512MB chip that I ripped out of my iMac when I upgraded it to 2GBs of RAM fits quite nicely and works well inside my Mac mini, which is now running 768MBs of RAM after an easy bit of tinkering (Photos of said tinkering after the jump). The added RAM has doubled the frame rate at which I can run World of Warcraft on my 32-inch HDTV. It’s still a bit sluggish at 16-20fps in crowded areas, but it is playable and overall a cool experience while lounging on my couch with wireless bluetooth keyboard in lap and mouse to my side. Additionally, using this wonderful little program called iRecord, I can hook up my digital cable box to the mini via a FireWire cable and record shows in HDTV. Unfortunately, playing back these HDTV shows with their large 7.35GB size footprint (for an hour of video) via VLC seems a little beyond the capabilities of the mini as the video shows up as an animated series of stills during fast-moving sections. However, I can easily bring these large files over to my iMac where I can watch them and compress them to a smaller, more mini friendly format. Also, as a dev box, I am liking the mini. I can jump into it easily enough using Chicken of the VNC on my iMac and OSXvnc on the mini. I can also ssh in via the command line. Compiling code, while not blazingly fast, isn’t snail-crawl slow either. So, I’m enjoying the box for what I bought it for, I just wish it had a Core Duo, came with more RAM, Bonjour video worked better, and it hadn’t cost so much.

PaletteknifeoperationI used a palette knife to pop the lid off of the Mac mini.


RemovingtheantennaI had to remove the Airport Antenna to get to one of the 4 corner screws holding the hard drive and combo drive onto the base.


UnplugingthedrivesThis little nasty plug was tightly shoved into the board, but I had to remove it so I could get access to the memory sticks. Very tiny too, so it was a pain to plug back in. Had to use tweezers to position.

ThenakedbeastHere’s the bottom layer of the beast. More memory. Yum! Later on I may upgrade the hard drive and processor. 😉



Sony Ericsson Black Diamond

Industrial designer Jaren Goh has created his newest concept,the Black Diamond mobile phone for Sony Ericsson,Could this be Sony Ericsson’s answer to Nokia’s Vertu?I certainly hope so.

This high end 4 megapixel phone is Cased in a layer of polycarbonate with mirror finish cladding.The OLED technology makes for vivid illumination under the polycarbonate skin and gives it a borderless screen effect.The ultra thin profile,clean lines,and ultra-glossy finish are all qualities sure to attract Sony Ericsson fans and gadget freaks alike. www.jarengoh.com

Sony Ericsson Black Diamond

Vista not to support EFI

WindowsVista-sOn Thursday, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Fransisco, Microsoft development manager Andrew Ritz revealed that Windows Vista, the successor to the aging Windows XP expected to be released later this year, will not support EFI booting. Ritz admitted that EFI support will not be seen until Longhorn Server is released in early 2007, and on top of that it will never support a 32-bit processor.

Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is the modern and flexible successor to the 20-year-old PC BIOS. It is responsible for initialising hardware in the PC, and importantly, device drivers are stored in the EFI flash memory rather than being loaded by the operating system.

This is terrible news for Intel Mac users who have been hoping that they could dual-boot Windows and Mac OS X on their new Macs: not only are their processors not 64-bit (and thus will never be supported by Windows EFI booting) but Windows Vista won’t boot on EFI anyway.

„A combination of factors changed our plans. The big one, in my opinion was platform availability. With this huge move to 64-bit based platforms and for us to support it, we needed to see a large heterogeneous sample of 64 bit implementations out there for us to feel comfortable in supporting it.“ said Ritz.

 View: apcmag.com

How to take Mac security seriously

Apple_glassDamien went into detail about the „hacker challenge“ story and, as he explained, it’s much ado about nothing— for now. Clearly, this Mac security thing is only going to get more important. Even Headline News had a largely exaggerated report on the Bluetooth exploit found a while ago… So what is the average Mac user supposed to do? It’s all well and good if you’re a sysadmin and you can do stuff like lock down a server, but if you just bought your iBook and you are now cowering in a corner because you’re afraid to even open the thing (knowing that you will automatically „catch“ something), what then? Read on, as I have some stories and advice for you.

First it is important to note that the most likely vector of any computer attack is human. And keep in mind the difference between a vector of attack (like the SSH „hack“ mentioned by Damien), and a payload, which would be a true virus or Trojan. A worm is a vector, but it might deploy a payload. Make sense? Anyway, the point is humans are the weakest link in the whole chain, yet also the most important in stopping any attack. It is this central fact that makes almost all OS’es equal in terms of security. You are only as good as the people who use a system, and those who set it up. Case in point: phishing.

Phishing is a huge problem, and easy to set up. You get an email claiming some guy is your long-lost relative, and he needs some money to get out of jail. If he gets out, he’ll double your money. Or, even easier to trick (but harder to set up) is the fake URL scam, where it looks like Paypal or ebay (common targets) is sending you a letter about your account. This is the true phishing scenario, played out millions of times a day on the internet. Just click on the link to „verify“ your account info, or it will be deleted. Unfortunately, the link will take you to a spoofed site, and you’ll be typing your sensitive info into a trap designed to steal your passwords and credit card numbers. These are spins on classic grifters’ tricks, and phishing scams aren’t very well guarded on OS X. Microsoft and Mozilla are trying to attack this problem with tools in their browsers (or in email clients) that will alert you to spoofed websites. So what can you do on OS X? First, check out the US government’s guide to avoiding phishing scams. Second, make sure you’re using something to filter spam, as this will often catch a lot of generic phishing scams. If you use Firefox, Netcraft has a toolbar that will supposedly guard against phishing, but I haven’t tried it. It essentially checks URL’s for you. Third, use common sense. Would ebay really send out an email to an account and NOT use their username? Of course, the common sense cure is the hardest one to invoke…

One more thing about the human vector: it’s all about education. You have to teach people the rules of the road, yes? Well you’ll have to educate yourself or others on some basic security precautions, especially if you are the cautious type. One common concept is to never share passwords. Also, most people would recommend you don’t use the same password for everything you do. And since we’re talking about passwords, don’t forget to change them often, and use combos of letters, numbers, and uppercase/lowercase where appropriate. If you want a freeware tool for making passwords, there’s Pazzle. With Keychain, I have a bad good habit of just setting a great password, but instantly forgetting it. Let’s just hope I back up my Keychain database on a regular basis, eh? Oddly enough, Wayne State has a quick little ditty on setting passwords, and of course Wikipedia has the whole history plus some ideas too. Without exposing my own tricks, I can say that if I have to remember it, I’m more likely to use l33t type spelling for relatively common stuff. Maybe not the most secure in the world, but more secure than „Fluffy“ or „PHilton.“ And did you know OS X includes a password helper, to help create good passwords? It’s all here on this Tiger Tips page. Essentially you click the little question mark (or key, as in FileVault it was a question mark, but sometimes it’s a key, as in the pic on the Apple page, go standard GUI!) and a tiny dialog pops open to help you make a password. Pretty slick.

Tiger introduced a ton of very necessary security features too (aside from the password helper). Stuff most people don’t think about is now included, like Kerberos support in VPN, secure virtual memory, and a certificate assistant. A lot of these things are hard to find to the uninitiated, which I guess is good, since most folks won’t use them. So instead, let’s go over some more basic things you can do to protect yourself (after the jump).
As Damien pointed out, this „OS X Hacked in Less than 30 minutes“ contest and ensuing article are a bit a joke since a door to the outside world was opened up for the „hackers“ to use. Since OS X ships with all network services disabled (including the two most popular attack vectors, SSH and Apache), most Mac OS X users don’t have to worry too much about attack vectors from the outside world, but instead should worry about attacks that originate locally on their computers, via an email attachment or questionable file download.

However, If you’re really worried about true hacker attacks (meaning, someone is deliberately trying to get into your machine from the Internet), there are several things you can do to quickly protect yourself. None involve third party apps, and they are all located in your System Preferences.
Stealthsetting1. Go to the Sharing panel, and turn on the Firewall. Click the tab named „Firewall“ and click Start if it isn’t already running.
2. Going one step further, click on the Advanced… button in the Firewall tab in Sharing, and turn on Stealth Mode. This makes it much harder for anyone to find your machine to even begin hacking it. If you are the detailed type, turn on logging, where you can later examine the firewall logs to see if, in fact, anyone has been trying to get into your machine. You can also disable UDP, which is great, except that UDP might be needed for some functions in some apps. I know that Office v.X used UDP to auto-discover any illegal copies on other machines within a network, but this „feature“ could be turned into an exploit. My best recommendation is to just use Stealth. It’s fun.
3. Now go to the Security panel, and at least enable the secure virtual memory feature. Since I work in a school lab environment, I like to also password-protect my iBook upon waking and from screen saver. Disabling any auto-login is good if you’re worried about those human vectors (because stealing a computer physically is much easier than hacking it, which means you may want to invest in a physical computer lock too).
4. The big new feature in the Security panel is FileVault. This encrypts your data in your Home folders… And yes, it is very secure and cool. But, it can be problematic. If somehow you get locked out entirely, there’s really nothing that can bring your data back, because it is quite thoroughly encrypted. I have heard some folks have had trouble with FileVault too, as some apps don’t play nice (like QuickBooks).

It was funny to me that the Headline News piece I mentioned used the threat alert from Symantec as their source. Now why would Symantec, Sophos, or Intego want to raise such an alarm? Possibly because they sell the very products designed to keep you from harm? Symantec, being spurned by Apple after the move to UNIX, is the worst on this one. Never mind Apple had the patch out there— it’s going to destroy the Mac platform! Here, buy a million-year license to our Windows apps instead! Still, there will eventually be viruses and trojans and worms to hit the mac. Real ones, and ones that can’t be fixed by Apple before they become a problem. Not a question of if, but when. So what do you do about that one?

1. Back up your data. It’s very simple. Backing up your data to a secure location will ensure that you don’t lose said data. But how many of you have backed up today? That’s what I thought.
2. Apply patches and updates regularly. Yes, these are the basics. But maybe someday the average user will „get it.“
3. Really think about what you’re doing. Is downloading that application from the Republic of We Just Got Here 10 Minutes Ago a brilliant idea? Maybe not. If you’re downloading stuff, use someone like VersionTracker or Macupdate, where users can complain if something is amiss. Also, as much as it bugs me, that little nag when you are about to finish a download in Safari is there for a reason (as is the couple of nags you get when installing Widgets): think again before you are OK with these downloaded items.
4. Never grant admin rights (by typing your password) to something you’re not 100% sure about. Did a window just pop up out of nowhere asking permission to do something? That’s fishy.
5. Be careful when you get attachments. Without going into details, you should suspect junk in your email. Not just junk mails, or YouTube videos, but just junk in general. As we’ve seen before, seemingly innocuous PNG files can be dangerous.

Keep in mind you are only as safe as you allow yourself to be. If you download warez on a regular basis, or never filter your email, you’re asking for trouble. However, if you play by the rules, you’re a whole lot more likely to be secure.

And finally, if you truly are concerned about viruses and malware, feel free to invest in the fine products out there. While I may knock the Chicken Little attitude of Symantec, it’s probably better to be safe than smug. Fact is, as Apple’s products gain market share, something bad could happen quickly. The guys and gals at these companies are actually working every day to track down malware in all shapes and sizes. So benefit from their work and install something that makes you feel more secure. I wouldn’t go overboard and buy everything, but something is better than nothing. Unless of course, the something you do is dumber than doing nothing (like putting Virex on Tiger). I learned that from The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security, which is worth a read once you’ve got your tinfoil hat on…



Steph_origamiMicrosoft officially flipped the switch on the buzz machine for their Origami Project – an atypical viral marketing manuveur for a company whose products are usually known about years ahead of time. Scoble says its a device, the Internet’s lighting up with rumors – is it the Xbox portable? Well, we dunno, but as usual got our hands on some pictures. And as usual we can’t guarantee they’re the real deal, though we are pretty confident in their source. So, let’s go over it: these were sent to us detailing it as a Microsoft portable media player, which wouldn’t be too far off from what Jobs and BusinessWeek both prophesied Microsoft doing (despite being pretty broadly denied from within).

Now, here’s the tricky part with these pictures – what’s with the keyboard and stylus? Because the last time we checked, their Portable Media Center (PMC) OS didn’t have (known) support for touchscreen and keyboard input. So is this some new portable OS platform running on CE.net? Or perhaps it’s just a fat little Pocket PC device with some media software? Or something totally different – could Microsoft beat Apple to the punch with the first serious touchscreen portable media device? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s that ultramobile lifestyle PC Microsoft was talking about recently. Kinda seems like no matter what the answer, we’re all gonna be pretty surprised (for better or worse) come announcement day, March 2nd, being that Microsoft’s „not in the hardware biz.“ (No, peripherals don’t count.) But hell, we can’t even tell you for sure if these photos are legit, so here we are.

P.S. There’s one thing we are indeed fairly sure about: that it’s not that prototype „Origami“ device announced by National Semi in 2001. Seriously, c’mon, a device from 5 years ago is what Microsoft’s got Scoble buzzing about? Bigger pics of this Origami after the break.

Mac OS X hacked under 30 minutes

Apple_glassupdate Gaining root access to a Mac is „easy pickings,“ according to an individual who won an OS X hacking challenge last month by gaining root control of a machine using an unpublished security vulnerability.

On February 22, a Sweden-based Mac enthusiast set his Mac Mini as a server and invited hackers to break through the computer’s security and gain root control, which would allow the attacker to take charge of the computer and delete files and folders or install applications.

Within hours of going live, the „rm-my-mac“ competition was over. The challenger posted this message on his Web site: „This sucks. Six hours later this poor little Mac was owned and this page got defaced“.

The hacker that won the challenge, who asked ZDNet Australia to identify him only as „gwerdna“, said he gained root control of the Mac in less than 30 minutes.

„It probably took about 20 or 30 minutes to get root on the box. Initially I tried looking around the box for certain mis-configurations and other obvious things but then I decided to use some unpublished exploits – of which there are a lot for Mac OS X,“ gwerdna told ZDNet Australia .

According to gwerdna, the hacked Mac could have been better protected, but it would not have stopped him because he exploited a vulnerability that has not yet been made public or patched by Apple.

„The rm-my-mac challenge was setup similar to how you would have a Mac acting as a server – with various remote services running and local access to users… There are various Mac OS X hardening guides out there that could have been used to harden the machine, however, it wouldn’t have stopped the vulnerability I used to gain access.

„There are only limited things you can do with unknown and unpublished vulnerabilities. One is to use additional hardening patches – good examples for Linux are the PaX patch and the grsecurity patches. They provide numerous hardening options on the system, and implement non-executable memory, which prevent memory based corruption exploits,“ said gwerdna.

Gwerdna concluded that OS X contains „easy pickings“ when it comes to vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to break into Apple’s operating system.

„Mac OS X is easy pickings for bug finders. That said, it doesn’t have the market share to really interest most serious bug finders,“ added gwerdna.

Apple’s OS X has come under fire in recent weeks with the appearance of two viruses and a number of serious security flaws, which have since been patched by the Mac maker.

In January, security researcher Neil Archibald, who has already been credited with finding numerous vulnerabilities in OS X, told ZDNet Australia  that he knows of numerous security vulnerabilities in Apple’s operating system that could be exploited by attackers.

„The only thing which has kept Mac OS X relatively safe up until now is the fact that the market share is significantly lower than that of Microsoft Windows or the more common UNIX platforms.… If this situation was to change, in my opinion, things could be a lot worse on Mac OS X than they currently are on other operating systems,“ said Archibald at the time.

An Apple Australia spokeswoman said today it was unable to comment at this stage.