Kon Boot is Released – Now with 64bit fu

Hopefully you have all heard of Kon Boot before, and if not you have seriously been missing a trick. If you want to check out abit of history you can check out a post from June 2009 when I spoke about the previous version.

So Kon Boot, its awesome. I mean how awesome does it feel to be able to walk up to a machine and crack the password, pretty cool. Is it not then ever cooler then to just boot from a CD or USB and not have to bother?? I think so.. Kudos baby :) , not to mention the support benefits also. So the initial release of Kon Boot gave us the ability to boot for a floppy or CD, but we ran into issues if the system wasn’t 32bit. Now Kon Boot gives us support of 32 and 64bit, and the ability to boot from USB also.

So before I get into the demo vids of Kon Boot doing its thing, I will make a few things clear. The original version of Kon Boot was a prototype by the guys at Kryptos Logic, Kon Boot is now a commercial product. Now before you start getting upset, its cheap as chips for what it is at $15.99 (£10.51 excl VAT) for a personal license, and with that you get 6 months support and free upgrades. A commercial license is also available for $75.99 (£49.97 excl VAT) and this gives you 12 months support, free upgrades and for multiple use within an organisation. Its not subscription based so you don’t need to renewed. So basically its a good deal in my mind. However to sweeten the deal I can offer you guys a 20% discount code for Kon Boot v1.1 making it even cheaper. So when you go to buy Kon Boot v1.1 simple enter code dalereader20 for 20% off.

Now the science part :) You pop your media into a Windows PC and you boot it. The Bios is hooked by Kon Boot, and the magic begins. The kernel is modified temporarily to not require authentication once the OS is loaded. You get prompted for a password, you simply press enter and go about your activities. When done, shut down, remove the media, and everything is back to normal at next boot.

It is important to understand that even though this product has been tested and developed with many common bios versions supported, there may be the occasional issue. However this is what support is there for, and the guys at Kryptos Logic are quick to respond and helpful. I can say this as they have been working with me on an unsupported bios version I found whilst testing.

The video below will demonstrate Kon Boot working on a 32bit VM Installation via ISO, 32bit and 64 via USB. We know the CD and Floppy works from before anyway. Enjoy :)

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) on Aspire One Mini Review

As posted earlier, today was the release of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), you really have to love the release names they come up with :)

So I downloaded the Remix version because I run Ubuntu on my Acer Aspire One 110, and its just a little more user friendly that a standard desktop gui. For reference I did a fresh install, and not an upgrade from the 9.04 I was running.

So the download and install onto USB stick was a doddle with the packaged USB Creator, then about 15 mins and the install was good to go.

So first impressions, well in the past getting things to work first time with the Aspire One can be a little difficult. Like the wireless doesn’t always work, or the led doesn’t flash, or the sound is no good, or the camera doesn’t work, you get the idea. Well I am pleased to say I had no issues, touch wood everything works as you would expect. The SD card reader doesn’t work in real time, and requires a reboot but that’s always been the case. So everything is working, and I have to say it seems to boot faster to.

Favorites

So on start up with have the Remix interface we expect, with some slight colour and theme changes. The interface is as intuitive as ever, and somehow seems abit slicker. The motion seems improved and I can move between the different areas very easily. I did an update check, and as expected its all up to date. I know its only been out two minutes, but you never know :D

Firefox

Next I thought I would fire up Firefox, and I am happy to see 3.5.3 is pre-installed (I know 3.5.4 has just been released, but we will let them off there). Everything works as expected, things seem pretty slick. I still get a few minor HDD pauses from the Solid State Drive on my 110 but, this is a feature :)

Cloud1

Cloud2

What new OS wouldn’t be complete with its own bit of Cloud :) So 9.10 comes with a link to Ubuntu ONE, I don’t know all the details about this offering, I think its something to do with Amazon’s cloud offering. Regardless, this is just a quick link from within Ubuntu to allow you backup, sync and share your data easily. I might look into this at some point as you can get 2GB for free :D We like free.

SoftwareCent1

Next I thought I would take a quick look at the Ubuntu Software Centre. This is basically a simple interface to manage and install all your applications. I guess this is to make it easier than using the old package manager.

SofwareCent2

So here we are, all very simple and easy to understand. I popped Pidgin at this point, and it was found and installed without issue.

System

Just a quick look at my Ones spec info, lovingly named Betty :)

I appreciate this isn’t an in depth review, but I think you can normally tell if your going to have any issues early. I think its a certainly an improvement in appearance and performance compared to the previous version I was running. I have not tried out the standard desktop version yet, but everything seems straight forward and easy to use. I really do think Ubuntu is a real alternative to Windows for anyone, not just the hardcore IT Unix guru’s.

I hope this mini review was of little help to those considering going with 9.10, especially those of you who are Netbook users.

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Available Now. Bonza mate :D

The new Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala is now available to download.

If your a Ubuntu Remix User also visit here for a download.

Here is what apparently new in Karmic Koala:

1. Brand new wallpapers

2. New brown login screen

3.  New themes and updated icons

4.  Xsplash

5. Ubuntu Software Center

6. Empathy

7. Ubuntu one

8. Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud

9. Linux kernel 2.6.31

10. New Intel video driver

11. Hal deprecation

12. Ext4 by default

13. GRUB 2 by default

14. Firefox 3.5

15. gnome 2.28

16. AppArmor

17. New font vewer/installer

18. Gdm 2.28

New WHS Server Build with ATOM 330 Dual Core

So for some time now I have been thinking of moving to an ATOM setup for my server, mainly to reduce operating costs. I had been looking at the various Dual Core Atom board, but all of them seemed to be limited to 2GB Ram, and I was concerned this might not be enough for future requirements.
So I got myself on of these Point of View NVIDIA ION Mini ITX, and 4GB DDR2 800Mhz memory.

So my original plan was to replace my AMD ATHLON, 2GB RAM WHS Server, and my old knacker of an ESXi server with this new box running ESXi V4.0. However it turned out the outboard HardDisk controller isnt supported by ESXi. I might look at getting a new controller card that is supported at some point, so change of plans and install WHS with Power Pack 3 (W7 Supporting) and VMware Server.

ATOM-DUAL-CORE

All installed and running really well, and seems I can run 8 VM’s plus the host OS and it copes fine.

The most important bit is I have more power and have dropped my watts from 160 to 50 ish watts :)

Update: I had some issues with the server losing network connection when backing up, or having a lot of traffic put its way. The solution was to disable checksum offload and segmentation offload on the onboard NIC.

Google Chrome OS. Should Microsoft be worried??

So Google have announced they are going to be releasing their own OS.
So in about 12 months time we should be seeing the Chrome OS available, and its apparently firstly going to be aimed at the growing netbook market.

The aim is to get something out there thats basic and gives a user what they need, and gets them up and running super smartish. I guess this is going to compete against the likes of Ubuntu Remix, Linpus and other light weight OS’s used on netbooks. I guess Microsoft has a little to worry about, but personally I dont think its going to have a bigger effect than now, as windows is fairly weight for what I believe a netbook was originally designed for.

Look forward to seeing the beta for this, and seeing how many vulnerabilities are found in the first week.