Don’t just post pictures of your products, 3D anmimate them!

When a picture is worth a thousand words how many is a animation worth? In this case 120,000. That’s because this short 4 second animation is composed of about 120 frames, each worth a thousand words. If your product has multiple parts or moving pieces still photography may not be doing it justice. A simple 3D animation can go a long way to help showcase your product in it’s best light. Though 3D models can be expensive to develop they can pay for themselves many times over. Once a model has been created it can be endlessly repurposed at different angles in different scenes and in different colors. Present your technical equipment in an animated exploded view to highlight the details of it’s inner workings. Show how much fun your toy trucks can be in the dirt. Use a mechanism of action 3D animation to help your patients and physicians better understand the effects of your pharmaceuticals. Corner Edge Solutions can provide you with all this and more.

 

Adobe’s Promising New Animation Tool

Last month Adobe launched a long awaited preview of its new standards based animation tool branded Adobe Edge, it’s like Flash for HTML. Edge promises to make animating web content easier for designers who are not that code savvy. Because its output is standards based and uses web kit, HTML5 and CSS3 it doesn’t require a plugin so animations will run in any modern browser including Safari on iOS devices like the iPad. I have finally found time to play with the app and am pleased so far with its simplicity. I’m not much at programming or hand coding so this kind of tool is great for me. The timeline interface is easy to use and understand and the properties panel makes tweaking and experimentation efficient. One of my favorite features is that you can open an existing html file in edge and start animating its elements. Pretty much any property can be animated, size, position, color transparency etc. What you will not find in this preview are complex drawing tools, support for creating CSS3 gradations or shadows or the ability to add interactivity but you can add those features to your elements before or after you animate in Edge. The program does not alter your existing html code much either other than adding some Javascript and CSS  include files to the head to manage the animations. Although it’s a limited preview this is already a handy tool for me and I look forward to a more robust release. Here’s an example of a page built in Dreamweaver and animated with Edge with minimal effort. http://design.corneredge.com/

Do you transfer files securely with your customers?

Email is not secure, and there are many ways to transfer secure files between you and your clients.   Many 3rd party solutions exist, but there are breaches here and there every once in a while, and there is this un-easy feeling of loosing control when sending “some where else”.

How nice would it be if you had a secure file transfer system built into your website? Secured with HTTPS, audited by YOU so you know WHO has permission exactly, and stored in a top tier data-center with 7+ layers of physical security and max web performance?

CornerEdge has built and hosted several of these file exchange and document management solutions for happy customers this year.   Contact us today for more information on how you can better service your clients with professionalism, ease, and the highest level of security for their information.

Low Cost Disaster Recovery Options For VMware

For years now Corner Edge Solutions has been using VMware exclusively for all of our new server installs, and even for hardware upgrades by virtualizing the original server install and configuration to a new physical server with VMware.  This goes for even a small, one server setup as well.  We have felt this is a great way to increase reliability as well as improve disaster recovery times.

While having two complete setups of VMware is probably cost prohibitive, with the small footprint of VMware ESXi, you can use a simple workstation or even a laptop as a cold spare DR backup.  As you’ll see below, I have easily installed VMware on my laptop, and with a large enough hard drive, and enough memory, I could run a small to medium office server environment setup on my one laptop, or even a mid-range business desktop.  The cost of these is usually around $1500-2500, and when you consider the cost of a second server may come in at $5000 or more, this is a great low-budget way to have your office back up and working quickly in the event of a major disaster.

To do this simply, just power off the VM’s on a schedule that fits your DR needs and copy the files from the main DataStore and upload them the the DataStore on your backup setup.  You will want to make sure your backup processor is a 64-bit proc with VT enabled if you are running 64-bit VM’s, you have enough storage space for the foreseeable future, and definitely install as much memory as your budget and workstation will allow, and that should be it.

You clearly shouldn’t expect the same performance of this setup as you would get from a true server, but it would get people back online and running again while you work on the main server.

image

Here is a quick picture I took of my laptop running VMware ESXi just for fun.  I had installed ESXi on a USB stick, and booted to that when I powered on my laptop.  This install was originally done on a PowerEdge 2950, and without any modifications to the install, it came up just fine on an Dell Latitude E6500.  Simply carry a USB flash drive and a large external storage drive and you can have a backup ESXi server wherever you go.

VMware ESXi Server Keeps Running with Failed RAID Array

We at Corner Edge Solutions LOVE VMware.  It’s not too hard to tell that based on our blog, but this past week we found a new reason to fall in love all over again.  One of our ESXi 4 servers in a cluster had a double drive failure on our RAID 5 array, which would have completely crashed a server had it been a typical setup, but since it is running VMware ESXi with all the VM DataStores on a iSCSI storage device, we had ZERO impact on our environment.  ESXi is the lightweight version of the original ESX server which runs entirely in memory, not requiring disk access once it has been loaded at startup.

Since this machine was part of a cluster, we simply migrated the VMs on the failed server to the other working ESXi server through vSphere vCenter Server.  The working VMware server was able to overcommit the available physical memory by almost 50% with room to spare.  We then took down the server with the bad drives to rebuild.  We also took this opportunity to install the OS onto a USB flash drive, which installed internally to the server, and remove the remaining two working hard drives to run a completely diskless server configuration.  With a small amount of configuring to VMware, the newly rebuilt server was ready to join the cluster again and the VMs were then evenly distributed throughout the cluster, all the while never having to power anything off.  That means never having to send out maintenance notices to customers that their hosted servers will be offline, and keeping out uptime in tact.  The whole process took only about 5 hours as well.  When was the last time a total failure on a system RAID drive, and nothing went down, and everything was upgraded and repaired in 5 hours?

64-Bit Outlook 2010 is FAST

I’m happy to report that the new version of Microsoft Outlook 2010 64-bit edition is FAST.  This is one of the first times I’ve installed a 64-bit application and truely seen the benefits.  I have a TON of email, and this version of outlook has shown to be able to keep up with me, run well, and really work quickly for me on an older computer.

I recommend it to power users, it a worthwhile upgrade in time savings alone when compared with outlook 2007.

The search and usability features have almost negated the need for my favorite too, xobni as well… more on that later.

-Russ

Microsoft Office 2010 64-bit can’t be installed with older versions of office

As developers we often have to support many different versions of Microsoft office.  We are excited to use the 64 capabilities of the latest version of office 2010.  When installing last week I noticed I cannot have older versions of office.  If you want to run 64 bit, you have to UN-install previous 32 bit versions of Office.

You’ll see this message:

32 Bit Error message when trying to install office 2010 64 bit

So, prepare some extra time to un-install your older 32 bit applications before upgrading to 2010.  Its cleaner to use virtualization to maintain multiple client installs for development purposes anyway.

SPAM alert – CES will NEVER – temporanly prevented access to your account

Our support team will NEVER send you a spam message like this below.

————————————————————

Dear Customer,

This e-mail was send by corneredge.net to notify you that we have temporanly prevented access to your account.

We have reasons to beleive that your account may have been accessed by someone else. Please run attached file and Follow instructions.

(C) corneredge.net

Windows Tweaks – is that little trick really working?

Lifehacker had a great article today showing the good old windows tricks to make your PC faster.  Which ones really work?  This is definitely worth your time if you are into tweaking or tuning your computers performance.

Windows Maintenance Tips: The Good, Bad, and Useless

You might be surprised which ones help performance vs. hurt performance.

Can’t Delete DataStore on New VMware ESXi Install even with embedded SDcard

Like many of you out there, when I am creating a VM, there are times I want a virtual hard drive larger than 256GB.  Unfortunately VMware defaults the DataStore block size to 1MB, which limits you to a virtual HDD of only that size.  In a previous post (here), I walked you through deleting and recreating the DataStore to get the larger block size needed for a VHDD of up to 2TB.  But what happens when you can’t delete the DataStore to recreate it.  This is the error I am talking about: “Error during the configuration of the host: DestroyVmfsDatastore: can’t delete partition 3 on lun vmhba1:0:0″

It is no surprise when you install VMware, it installs some other information on the drives for the OS, but I was surprised to see files on the local hard drives when I was installing VMware on the embedded SDcard we typically specify with our servers.  Despite installing the actual OS on a separate flash drive, the install actually wrote some data to one of the drives on the server.

Compare DataStore1 which has VMware ESXi installed on it to DataStore 2 which has nothing but VM’s on it.  You can see there are a lot more partitions, which is why the DataStore won’t delete.  If VMware was installed on an embedded flash drive you would see less partitions on DataStore1, but still a lot more than on DataStore2.

The easiest way to avoid this is if you are installing to an embedded SD card is to not attach your hard drives or configure your virtual disks if you are using a RAID card until after the ESXi installation.  If the drives aren’t there, then the installation can’t write files to them.

If, however you have already installed VMware ESXi to the flash drive and don’t want to reinstall it again with the drives disconnected, the easiest way it from inside the RAID card utility at startup, just re-initialize the offending drive, which will delete all data that has been written to it and then you will be able to create the DataStore with the larger block size.

If you do not have the option of installing to an embedded flash drive, then my recommendation would be to create a 1GB virtual disk in your RAID card first, install VMware there, and then create the remaining disks in the RAID utility after.  Then, when you are creating the DataStore in VMware, you can specify the block size then.

I hope this helps take away some of the confusion on why you cant delete a DataStore on a clean install with no VM’s even created.