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Restoring the Solaris OS From VERITAS NetBackup Software (BigAdmin)

By: Bradley T. Webb, February 2007


Overview of the Basic Method

The situation is that you need to restore the Solaris Operating System on your client's server system disk for whatever reason, and I assume that you are unable to boot normally from the Solaris system. I also assume that you have a backup of your client's operating system on VERITAS NetBackup.

You are going to boot your client up from CD-ROM or JumpStart, and use NFS to share the disk partitions out, then mount them on a NetBackup Media Server, and restore your operating system files into the Media Server mount point. This will effectively restore the operating system onto your client's system disk.

Note that by default it is not possible to share partitions natively through NFS when booting from CD-ROM or JumpStart.

You can choose either method to boot up, but in any case it is probably useful to follow the steps for preparing the OpenBoot PROM (OBP) environment.

Information You Need Before Starting

You will need to have this information on hand:

  • The IP and subnet mask of the client system you are going to rebuild
  • The client's MAC address
  • The interface card that connects to the subnet from which you will boot using the JumpStart server
  • The IP address of the JumpStart server
  • The partitions that each of the client's file systems resided on and the partition size
  • The IP of the VERITAS NetBackup Media Server from which you are going to restore
  • The address of the router on the client's subnet that will allow the client to reach the NetBackup Media Server (if it is on a different subnet)

For the purposes of this document, the JumpStart server's IP is and the client has an IP of, and a subnet mask of The NetBackup Media Server's IP is

Example Instructions to Set Up a Basic JumpStart Boot

You can skip this step if you are booting from a CD-ROM.

I assume here that if you boot from JumpStart, the server has a router address that allows your client to reach the NetBackup Media Server. If that is not the case, see the section on booting from a CD-ROM for the commands to set up routing: An Alternative Method to Boot Your Client From a Solaris Boot CD-ROM.

On the JumpStart server, edit the /etc/ethers file so it contains the MAC address of your client's system. (The MAC address is displayed with the banner command from the OBP on the client.)

Next, edit the /etc/hosts file so that it contains the client's host name and its IP. (The client's IP is the same subnet as the JumpStart server and should be on the backup LAN network.)

Then go to the tools directory of the JumpStart client and run the add_install_client command, as in the following example:

# cd  /jumpstart/solaris8/february2002/Solaris_8/Tools
# ./add_install_client client_1 sun4u

Important note: You must share the NFS JumpStart files from the JumpStart server as read only, ( -o ro), or the JumpStart configuration will become corrupted. For more details, please see the SunSolve document SRDB ID: 22979 (editor's note: available to registered SunSolve users with a valid Sun Service Plan).


share -F nfs -o ro,anon=0 /jumpstart

Prepare Your Client's Open Boot PROM Environment

From the OBP, you need to know which interface you will boot from, and create an alias to its hardware path. If needed, you can run the following commands to see which interfaces are connected to something at the other end:

OK watch-net-all

To display any current aliases for network devices, use OK devalias.

To set up a network device alias name (for the interface on the JumpStart backup LAN) do the following:

OK show-nets

This lists the interfaces. Select the one you want (for example, b).

OK nvalias jump-nic  ctrl+y

This creates the alias called jump-nic. (ctrl + y pastes in the interface you selected.)

At this stage you need to make sure your chosen interface will use the MAC that you got from the banner command.

OK printenv use-local-mac-address?

If it shows as true, change it to false. (You can change it back after the restore.)

OK setenv use-local-mac-address? false

Next, I recommend setting auto-boot? to false in case you have problems:

OK setenv auto-boot? false

Boot Up the Client From JumpStart

Use OK boot jump-nic -s or OK boot net -s, and wait for the # prompt.

An Alternative Method to Boot Your Client From a Solaris Boot CD-ROM

Use OK boot cdrom -s and wait for the # prompt.

If you booted from a CD-ROM, on the client, run the commands necessary to configure the appropriate IP, netmask, and routing.

# ifconfig hme0 plumb up netmask broadcast +

If your media server is on a different network, add a route in (according to the following example). Here, is the router that you can use to reach the media server, with the destination as the IP address of

# route add net 1

Whichever Method You Booted From, Prepare the Client Environment

On the client, type the following commands:

# stty erase ^H
# exec ksh -o vi
# PS1='$PWD> '
# export TERM=vt100

I am assuming you have connected to your client through some sort of remote console, and it needs vt100 rather than sun as a terminal type.

If your client is connected to a switch that is set to run at 100 Mbit/sec full duplex, you can change the duplex to be full, thus massively speeding up your restore time.

If you have a more modern interface such as bge or ce, you will need to check the Sun documentation for the syntax to use.

Determine the name of your interface with the following:
# ifconfig -a

At this stage you should check that the subnet mask of your interface is correct. This is picked up from the subnet used for the same network range in /etc/netmasks on the JumpStart server.

If you look closely you will see that the broadcast address is probably wrong (it may or may not affect the network connection), so you should correct it. Here is an example:

# ifconfig hme0 broadcast +

This command determines the broadcast for you and corrects it on the fly.

Next, create and run a script similar to the one shown next. Modify the instance and dev name to suit your system. If you are using bge interfaces you will need to refer to other documentation, as a different syntax is used.

# vi /tmp/ndd

Add the following lines. (Note: This example is for the hme interface, hme0. hme1 would be used for instance 1, and so on.)

ndd -set /dev/hme instance 0
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_100T4_cap 0
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_100fdx_cap 1
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_100hdx_cap 0
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_10fdx_cap 0
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_10hdx_cap 0
ndd -set /dev/hme adv_autoneg_cap 0

# chmod 744 /tmp/ndd
# /tmp/ndd

Enable Your Client to Share Disk Partitions Using NFS

You are going to make the /etc/dfs directory writable so that you can use NFS on the client to share out the disk partitions.

# cd /etc
# find dfs | cpio -pdumv /tmp
# mount -F lofs /tmp/dfs /etc/dfs
# cd /etc/init.d
# ./rpc start
# ./nfs.client start
# vi /etc/dfs/dfstab

Next, in the /etc/dfs/dfstab file, put in a line similar to the following:

share  -F nfs  -o rw,anon=0 -d "client restore"  /tmp/disk

Note that in this case it is READ / WRITE ( -o rw ), as you want to use NFS to share the disk partition to which you are going to restore.

Now that the dfs directory is mounted in the writeable swap file system (/tmp on your client), dfstab and sharetab are writeable files. This allows you to share disk partitions from your client using NFS, even though the directory is read only by default when the client is booted from CD-ROM or JumpStart. Note: The boot directory on the JumpStart server is actually / (root) on your client.

In the /tmp directory, create the mount point you will share your disk partitions from:

# mkdir /tmp/disk
# cd /etc/init.d
# ./nfs.server start
# unshareall

The next step is very important. You will determine the real disk name of the root disk to which you are restoring.

Determine the Real Disk Name

Important note: If you are restoring a system with multiple disk controllers, when you boot from JumpStart or a CD-ROM, the controllers will almost certainly be probed in a different order than they would be probed when booting normally from UNIX. As a result, the controller names will be different. For example, c2t0d0, when booted from JumpStart, could refer to c1t0d0 booted from UNIX. To get the real device name, you need to issue the devalias command from the OK prompt. This will display the hardware path of the boot device and you can compare it to the output of the format command.

Here is an example:

1. While booted from JumpStart, issue the appropriate break signal (stop+A, or the equivalent, according to your connection type) to go to the ok prompt.

2. devalias shows something like the following:

rootdisk         /pci@8,600000/SUNW,qlc@4/fp@0,0/disk@0,0
rootmirror /pci@8,600000/SUNW,qlc@4/fp@0,0/disk@1,0

3. format would show the following when booted to full UNIX:

0. c1t0d0
1. c1t1d0

This is what format shows when booted from the JumpStart server:

0. c1t0d0
1. c1t1d0
2. c1t2d0
3. c1t3d0
4. c1t4d0
5. c2t0d0
6. c2t1d0

4. Under JumpStart, the root disk you need to restore to is c2t0d0.

Because you are using fibre-attached internal disks, this example does not show you everything you need to know. Although the devalias controller path matches the format controller path, it does not very effectively translate Fibre WWNs to the device ID name of devalias output. However, it should be obvious that under a JumpStart boot, disk@0,0 and disk@0,1 relate to c2t0d0 and c2t1d0, respectively. (Note that I did not show c2t1d0 in the preceding JumpStart format printout.)

Reformat Your Disks

Now use the format program to reformat your disk using the same partition sizes as the original system had, or use suitable alternative sizes.

Also, note that if you had your root disk mirrored under VERITAS Volume Manager, and you are restoring to the original system disk, due to the way VERITAS repartitions the disk, you will definitely have to reformat the original disk and reinstate VERITAS mirroring later on.

When you have reformatted the disk, create file systems on it.

# for i in 0 3 4 5
echo y | newfs /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s$i

Mount the First File System on /tmp/disk, Share It Out With NFS, and Mount It Onto the Media Server
# mount -F ufs /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0 /tmp/disk
# shareall

Now log on to the VERITAS NetBackup Media Server as root, and mount the client's NFS share on it.

# cd /tmp
# mkdir client_1

(The host name of your client)

# mount -F nfs /tmp/client_1
# ls -ail /tmp/client_1

Check that you can see a lost+found directory to confirm that you have actually mounted the remote share.

Restore the Operating System From VERITAS NetBackup Software

Very important note: On all versions of the VERITAS NetBackup software, when you are restoring files there will be an option to rename hard and soft links. You must select rename hard links and deselect rename soft links. If you get these options wrong, you will lose absolute path symbolic links and your restore will be invalid.

From your machine, using Exceed or some other XWindows client, log onto the NetBackup master server as root. Then do the following (where ip:0 is your machine's IP address):

# cd /usr/openv/netbackup/bin
# export DISPLAY=your_pc's_ip:0

Note: Using start, run, cmd, and typing ipconfig will display your machine's IP.

If you are restoring from VERITAS NetBackup version 3.4, I suggest using the xnb interface to run your commands.

# ./xnb& 

However, the following example is for VERITAS NetBackup 4.5. Please note that if you are using VERITAS NetBackup 3.4, you need to make selections that will achieve equivalent results to the example I have given for version 4.5.

For VERITAS NetBackup version 4.5, I recommend using the jnbSA interface:

# ./jnbSA& 

Log in to the GUI as root and enter the root password when prompted.

Make the Initial Selections and List the Backup You Are Going to Restore

  1. In the left pane, click backup restore and archive. Then, in the right pane, select the restore tab and click on the hand symbol, located at the top right side of the window.
  2. On the netbackup server tab, highlight the master server you need and click make current. (Note: If needed, type in the server name, then click add.)
  3. On the source client tab, do the same to select the name of the client backup that you are going to restore, click add, type in the client name, highlight it, and select make current.
  4. On the destination tab, repeat the previous steps to select the media server where you have mounted the NFS share of the client's root file system. Click okay to exit back to the previous window.
  5. Now that you are back in the previous window, click the dropdown arrow, and select normal backup. Next click browse directory and type in the directory you need to restore. (The first time around, the directory will be /.)
  6. On the far right of the browse directory there are some icons. Hover the mouse over the icons to see their names, if needed. You will probably only need to click the icon for show most recent backups.
  7. Click the refresh icon to display your results. This should list all the files from the most recent full (and possibly differential) backup for your client.

Select Files and Restore Them

1. First, deselect any previous file selections by removing any checks. Then select the appropriate directory by checking the box in the directory structure pane window. (You will select either /, /var, /home, or whatever other partitions or mount points you have, according to the partition you are currently restoring.)

2. Now click the restore button at the bottom right side of the display. Select restore to a different location. If needed, type / as the source directory. (In later steps this would be /var or /home.) In the destination directory, type in your mount point on the media server, for example, /tmp/client_1.

Note that when restoring /var, the source directory would be /var and the destination directory will remain /tmp/client_1.

Very important note: As stated previously, on all versions of the VERITAS NetBackup software, when you are restoring files there will be an option to rename hard and soft links. You must select rename hard links and deselect rename soft links. If you get these options wrong, you will lose absolute path symbolic links and your restore will be invalid.

3. Now select restore directories without crossing mount points and make sure that overwrite existing files has not been selected.

4. Click start restore and select yes to view progress.

Unmount and Unshare File Systems to Prepare for the Next Cycle

  1. When the restore is finished, unmount the file system on the media server.
  2. # umount /tmp/ client_1
  3. Go back to the client client_1-bu and do the following:
    # unshareall
    # umount /tmp/disk


Now go back and repeat the following three steps:

  1. Mount the next partition on /tmp/disk on the client. Again type shareall. Then go to the media server and NFS mount the client share again. Here is an example:
  2. # mount -F ufs /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3 /tmp/disk
    # shareall
  3. Work through the "Select the Files and Restore Them" section again.
  4. Work through the "Unmount and Unshare File Systems to Prepare for the Next Cycle" section again.

Repeat this process for the appropriate slices until you have restored all the file systems required.

After all restores are completed, make the disk bootable.

Working From the Restored Client

After the process is completed, you need to install the boot block to make the disk bootable. To do so, mount slice 0 onto /tmp/disk again.

Now run the following command (and note that broken line should be all on one line when you type it):

/tmp/disk/usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk \

Disable Any Disk Mirroring Before Rebooting

While the root partition is still mounted, before rebooting the client you need to disable the disk mirroring (such as mirroring with Solstice DiskSuite software). However, the following example is for unmirroring a disk mirrored with VERITAS Volume Manager.

Consult your Sun documentation if your disk was mirrored with Solstice DiskSuite.

Type the following command:

# cd /tmp/disk/etc
# vi system

Comment out all occurrences of the following two lines:

set vxio:vol_rootdev_is_volume=1

Type the following:

# vi vfstab

Change it so that all VxVM volumes are commented out and the O/S slices are referred to by their native dsk and rdsk device names. This usually can be accomplished with the following:

# cp vfstab vfstab.vx
# cp vfstab.prevm vfstab

Note: It is assumed that you have laid out your disk partitions for the restore in the same way they were laid out when the system was originally built. If this is not the case, edit the file and adjust any mount points as needed.

Run the following:

# cd vx/reconfig.d/state.d
# rm *
# touch install-db

Make the Disk Bootable

Unmount all disk slices and run fsck -y on them to ensure the sanity of the file systems.

# for i in 0 3 4 5
fsck -y /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s$i

Shut down the client and boot up.

# halt

Then, from the OBP, type:


After booting up from your successfully restored system, reinstate the disk mirroring as appropriate, and carry out any other work as necessary, such as copying additional mount entries to /etc/vfstab from the original vfstab.vx file.

About the Author

Brad Webb is a contractor based in the U.K., with 16 years of experience in the IT industry. He currently works as a Solaris and UNIX Systems Administrator, and in the past has worked for various companies in permanent roles, including UNIX Systems Administrator, Hardware Analyst, and Field Service Engineer.

Romantis Hingga Ke Tua

Di suatu malam yang dingin, di dalam sebuah bilik yang sederhana besar, di atas katil sepasang suami isteri yang telah LANJUT USIA baru masuk tidur. Suaminya telah mula mengantuk tetapi isterinya terbangkit perasaan ghairah malam itu....

Si isteri bersuara, 'Dulu-dulu tu.... abang selalu pegang tangan saya bila kita nak tido...' Suaminya dengan separuh sedar menggenggam tangan isterinya, lepas tu mula mengantuk semula...

Beberapa ketika lepas tu, si isteri bersuara lagi,
'Kemudian tu.... abang selalu cium saya...'
Si suami dengan rasa terganggu, mengangkat kepalanya dan menyentuh bibirnya ke pipi si isteri. Lepas tu sambung tido balik...

Selepas beberapa saat, si isteri bersuara lagi, 'Kemudian tu kan.... abang selalu gigit-gigit leher saya...'
Dengan perasaan marah dan geram, si suami melontar selimutnya dan bangun dari katil tu.

Si isteri heran dan terus bertanya, 'Abang nak gi mana tu?' Dengan nada marah suaminya menjawab, 'Nak gi amik gigi la ni...'


Troubleshooting RAID 1 in Solstice DiskSuite Software

I found this on my notes folder, compile by my former colleague during the day when we support SUN Servers.

Database Replica Errors

  • Problem: State database is corrupted or unavailable
  • Cause: Disk failure, disk I/O error
  • Symptom: Error message at boot time if databases are <= 50% of total database. System comes into single-user mode.

Suggested steps to follow:

1. At the ok prompt, issue the boot command. The system will enter single-user mode because of the broken database replicas.

ok > boot
Hostname: host1
metainit: host1: stale databases
Insufficient metadevice database replicas located.
Use metadb to delete databases which are broken.
Ignore any "Read-only file system" error messages.
Reboot the system when finished to reload the metadevice
After reboot, repair any broken database replicas which were
Type Ctrl-d to proceed with normal startup,
(or give root password for system maintenance):
Entering System Maintenance Mode.

2. Use the metadb command to look at the metadevice state database. You can see which state database replicas are not available -- they are marked by "unknown" and the M flag.

# metadb -i
flags first blk block count
a m p lu 16 1034 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7
a p l 1050 1034 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7
M p unknown unknown /dev/dsk/c0t1d0s7
M p unknown unknown
3. Delete the state database replicas on the bad disk using the -d option. At this point, the root (/) file system is read-only. You can ignore the error messages:
# metadb  -d  -f  c0t1d0s7
metadb: demo: /etc/opt/SUNWmd/ Read-only file system.

Verify deletion:

# metadb  -i
flags first blk block count
a m p lu 16 1034 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7
a p l 1050 1034 /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7

4. Reboot the system.

5. Use the metadb command to add back the state database replicas and verify that these replicas are correct.

# metadb -a -c 2 c0t1d0s7
# metadb -i
flags first blk block count
a m p luo 16 1034 dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7
a p luo 1050 1034 dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7
a u 16 1034 dev/dsk/c0t1d0s7
a u 1050 1034 dev/dsk/c0t1d0s7

Metadevice Errors

  • Problem: Sub-mirrors are out of sync in "Needs maintenance" state
  • Cause: Disk problem or failure, improper shutdown, communication problems between two mirrored disks
  • Symptom: "Needs maintenance" errors in metastat output

Suggested steps to follow:

1. Replace the faulty disk.

2. Create a partition that is the same as the original disk. If you need to recover the state database, follow the above steps.

3. Log in to the Solaris OS and issue the metastat command. You will see the results as shown below:

# metastat

d0: Mirror
Submirror 0: d10
State: Needs maintenance
Submirror 1: d20
State: Okay
d10: Submirror of d0
State: Needs maintenance
Invoke: "metareplace d0 /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 "
Size: 47628 blocks
Stripe 0:
Device Start Block Dbase State Hot Spare
/dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 0 No Maintenance

d20: Submirror of d0
State: Okay
Size: 47628 blocks
Stripe 0:
Device Start Block Dbase State Hot Spare
/dev/dsk/c0t2d0s0 0 No Okay
4. The result shows that the disk c0t3d0s0 was faulty and replaced. Use the metareplace command to enable the device:
# metareplace -e d0 c0t3d0s0
Device /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 is enabled
Or if you want to move the faulty device to a new disk with a different target, you can use this command:
# metareplace  d0 c0t3d0s0   

Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor - angkasawan malaysia ke-2

Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor - angkasawan malaysia ke-2

STAR CITY, Russia – Angkasawan Malaysia, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, mengakui terkejut apabila mengetahui beliau adalah orang kedua dari Malaysia yang berjaya ke angkasa.
Sheikh Muszaphar yang berada di Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa (ISS) selama 10 hari, selamat mendarat di Bumi pada pukul 2.37 petang kelmarin waktu tempatan (6.37 petang waktu Malaysia) selepas menempuh perjalanan selama tiga jam 23 minit dengan kapsul Soyuz TMA-10.
Selain beliau, turut berada dalam kapsul tersebut adalah dua angkasawan Rusia iaitu Fyodor Yurchikhin dan Oleg Kotov.

Untuk rekod, angkasawan pertama Malaysia ialah seorang rakyat Terengganu yang berasal dari Besut iaitu Ayah Pin.Figura 1: "Gua orang first!", kata Ayah Pin dalam costume DarthVader semasa lawatan ke set penggambaran filem terkenal arahan George Lucas di Hollywood ketika diminta mengulas.

P/S:Komentar dari Dr. Sheikh kepada Kerajaan supaya menghentikan dahulu penghantaran Dr. Faiz sebagai Pelancong Angkasawan ke-2 selepas beliau kerana merasakan kerajaan perlu menanggung kos yang amat tunggi. STS-MC (Space Tourism Society Malaysian Chapter – Persatuan Pelancongan Angkasa Cawangan Malaysia) amat gembira dengan perkembangan terbaru yang mana Muszaffar mengakui bahawa program angkasawan adalah terlalu mahal dan tidak berbaloi iaitu melebih USD100 Juta. Sedangkan kalau kerajaan membuat RND untuk menyediakan sebuah kapal terbang angkasa lepas ke ruang angkasa ianya tidak melebihi USD80 Juta. Dan kapal angkasa tersebut boleh terbang melebihi 100KM dari muka bumi ini.

Dan tahukan anda, mana-mana Juruterbang yang membawa kapal mereka melebihi 80KM dari muka bumi boleh diisytiharkan sebagai angkasawan? Hah, kalau kerajaan RND dan bina kapal angkasa ni, sudah tentu Malaysia boleh menjadi pelopor kepada PELANCONGAN ANGKASA. Sudah tentu banyak orang-orang kaya yg tak tahu duit nak campak ke mana akan jadi pembeli tiket ke angkasa ini. Seorang charge USD50 Juta, kalau satu space shuttle boleh muat 5 orang, setahun buat 4 kali penerbangan cukuplah, boleh untung balik. Gua ni business minded beb!! hahhaha.
Figura 2: Bakal angkasawan seterusnya (gambar petak), kalau takda aral melintang bersama jet angkasa yang akan membawa beliau.

Kalau nak havoc skit, buat lah macam airasia, kita jual tiket ke angkasa lepas melalui internet. Penerbangan ke angkasa mengelilingi dunia selama 4 hari pada tahun 2020 mungkin boleh dijual hari ini dengan nilai USD 10 Juta, SAVE USD40 Juta beb!! Dengan anggaran tiket ke angkasa lepas ialah USD 50 Juta. So, cepat skit dapat untung boleh bikin bole cover duit tol. :D

But i do agree that this angkasawan programme really boost up budak-budak kat skolah untuk lebih meminati sains terutamanya sains astronomy. Kerana mereka sekarang sudah mempunya idola iaitu angkasawan. Aku sendiri tgk anak-anak buah aku bukan main sronot tgk kapal angkasa sekarang, itu hari masa Dr Sheikh datang ke TTI, K. Terengganu siap heret ibu diorang pergi nak tgk sheikh muzaffar. Sekarang, ibu-ibu kat Malaysia ada tagline baru dah nak suruh anak dia rajin belajar, "Nak jadi macam sheikh muzaffar tak?" baca buku Sains tu, siapkan kerja rumah math yg cikgu bagi tu cepat. Tapi yang lagi parah, lepas ada angkasawan ni siri popular ULTRAMAN pun main glamer hahahhaha.

Nabil, wa pinjam lu punya kata hikmat-LU PIKIR LA SENDIRI!!!

Entry-Level DSLR Battle

Entry-Level DSLR Battle:
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XSi VS Sony's Alpha a350 VS Nikon's D60 VS Olympus' E-420
This month, four eagerly awaited cameras all hit the market with a big ole thud: Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XSi, Sony's Alpha a350, Nikon's D60 and Olympus' E-420. They are not all evenly matched on paper, as you will see, and they certainly vary in price. But what's different about them, really? They are all aimed at people who wake up one morning and realize their point-and-shoot's pics are pretty crappy, people who don't consider themselves photographers but wouldn't mind spending a little money (under $1,000) to put those high-school photography lessons to practice with a decent body-and-lens kit. I decided to fiddle around with the four hottest new entry-level DSLRs and see what I could see.

The Weigh In As you can see, there's a wide range. I'm not saying weight is everything, but being the heaviest (by a lot) doesn't help the Sony.

On Paper
Before we get into each camera's capabilities, have a look at their specs. Cameras are arranged in order of price, from cheap to pricey. You can see how it's easy to fall in love with the lower-priced models. But in action, you statt to realize why the pricing is so slanted.
1600 ISO and Auto White Balance
In these shots, you can judge two things. First, some cameras have noisier high-ISO results than others (cough*Olympus*cough), and second, that auto white balance isn't the easiest thing to master. (I'm talking about you, Nikon.) Fortunately, two cameras do both reasonably well:

Action Shots in "P" Automatic Mode
Some of you have beef with me complaining that some DSLRs have lousy automatic settings, but the truth is, great DSLRs do damn well on auto, so it's a way to separate the good from the bad. Here you can see from a quick session with all four cameras that getting a clean shot of a moving cat in low light isn't always possible:

Note the Nikon's shot: The cat is squinting because of the auto-focus lamp that goes on before the shot—generally annoying when trying to capture kids and pets in their natural states.

Full Manual ShootingHere's what happens when I try to take the same or similar shots with the different cameras, using more or less the same manual settings. (The above shot was from the Sony Alpha a350.)

Daffodils: Low f-stop, medium shutter speed, handheld

Dawn: Medium f-stop, fast shutter speed, handheld

Creek: High f-stop, slow shutter speed, tripod

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi - First Place
What I Liked
It's an all around decent camera, much lighter in weight than the Sony but with most of the same performance. The cheap starter lens, which you may scoff at, gives it an added weight bonus, making it lighter than all but the Olympus.
What I Didn't Like
Live View is limited, or you might even say crippled. You can't preview autofocus—I'm not even sure the autofocus works very well in this mode. In the manual, Canon concedes that this is really for still life shooting and other limited applications. Also, for being $150 to $170 more than the Nikon, it's more or less the same class of camera, especially for manual shooting.

Sony Alpha a350 - Second Place
What I Liked All around intuitive camera with impressive automatic modes, a Live View that can demonstrate a lot, and solid control for people who know more. It's got the teaching ability of the Olympus with the picture reliability of the Canon. Although the a350 with 14-megapixel sensor is not as good a buy as the Canon at the same price, I think the nearly identical $700 a300 kit might be the best value of all right now.
What I Didn't Like The thing is giant, especially with the 16-80mm lens I tested. (The a300 is the same size and weight, by the way.) In Live View, I noticed from time to time that white balance on preview was different than what came out in the shot, which was annoying. The worst attribute, though, is the exceptional processing delay after you take each shot.

Nikon D60 - Third Place
What I Liked There's a keep-it-simple design here that works: not many hidden frills, but many nice clear options. I think for the money, this is the best idea for knowledgable, confident shooters, though it's not the best bet for beginners. I like one rare random perk in particular, the stop-motion video maker.
What I Didn't Like Simple means no frills like Live View previewing that the other models have. Though it's very handy when done right, like on the Olympus, it can also be done badly. Judging from Canon's execution, I can see why Nikon didn't bother. I have two particular pet peeves with the Nikon: Low-light autofocus triggers a very bright AF lamp, which makes pets and children go all squinty, and the auto white balance makes things too yellow indoors, and can't be overridden when in automatic modes.

Olympus E-420 - Fourth Place
What I Liked Besides the remarkably low price, I think this camera has the capacity to teach you a lot about manual settings because of the Live View. Like the Sony, this shows you the effects of your WB, exposure, f-stop and shutter settings in a live preview as you make them. Oly has this down, and was the one tat started it all.
What I Didn't Like The lightweight camera is missing a lot of strong tech: the ISO 1600 is noisy, autofocus doesn't respond nearly quick enough, and shooting in automatic modes turns up blurry and unfortunate shots.

There you have it, folks. I've tried to include enough of my methodology to let you judge this stuff for yourselves. Surely there's a lot to talk about, including the obligatory "body vs. glass" debate. I agree that lenses make a difference, but with new DSLR advancements, the bodies are starting to have a greater impact on how well people take pictures. You may know it all, but any one of these cameras can help the ignorant noob more than anything that came before. OK, that's my take... you have the floor.

New Sony SLR complicates the Canon vs. Nikon choice

It's a question I get nearly every day: "I want to step up from a point-and-shoot camera to a digital SLR; should I buy a Canon (CAJ) or a Nikon?"

Glad you asked. The answer just got more complicated thanks to Sony's (SNE) new $799 Alpha A300. This is one terrific alternative, perfect for soccer moms and baseball dads who want to stop action of their kids and get closer to the scene.

Single-lens reflex (SLR) models are the fastest-growing segment of the digital camera market as point-and-shooters look to improve their photography with the same kind of camera that professionals use.

With myriad lenses and accessories available, SLRs are the place to advance to the next level. (And spend more money: SLRs are much more expensive than point-and-shoots.)

Besides the A300 and its companion $899 A350, Canon and Nikon have also just released new models aimed at first-time buyers: the $899 Canon Rebel XSi and Nikon's $749 D60. (Pricing is from the manufacturers.)

All are excellent cameras, but the balance is tipped toward Sony for features that will appeal to average shutterbugs lusting after sharper photos.

The A300 (and the A350, which has a higher megapixel count) has built-in image stabilization (in-camera tools to help steady your hands) and the best focusing I've seen on a digital SLR. Sony calls it "predictive" autofocus.

We've all held the shutter button down halfway to focus, on both point-and-shoots and SLRs. On the A300 and A350, you just point the camera at your subject, and it does the work for you. I tested this feature on a recent trip to Washington, D.C. While a friend drove around, I stuck my head out the car window and quickly took pictures of randomly shifting images. Most were amazingly sharp.

Then there's Live View. If you like using the preview LCD screen on your point-and-shoot — to say, hold it above a crowd to grab a shot — the A300 is for you. Most SLRs don't let you compose on the LCD; you have to use the viewfinder. The A300 lets you do it via the viewfinder or the LCD screen, which tilts up and down.

To access Live View, you simply click a button on top of the camera. Canon's new Rebel XSi also has Live View, but using it is more complicated. You have to go into the camera's menu, and through a bunch of steps, and focusing isn't as seamless as with the Sony.

The drawback to the Sony cameras are accessories and lenses. Shutterbugs look to SLRs to bring them a variety of different views — ultraclose-ups and wide angles made possible with different lenses.

Canon and Nikon offer more than 50 lenses each and hundreds of accessories. When Sony introduced the Alpha in 2006, it had 19 lens available; two years later, the number has increased to just 24.

Most Sony lenses are pricier than — or not as good in low light as — comparable Canon and Nikon lenses.

What to buy

Most shoppers agonize over the Canon vs. Nikon decision, but there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to personal choice: how the camera feels in your hands. Both Canon and Nikon have made top cameras for decades, and that hasn't changed in the digital age.

Canon's Rebel XSi is a major upgrade from the XTi. It has a smaller body, large LCD screen, Live View, improved manual controls and better resolution.

Nikon's D40 is the choice for many first-time digital SLR buyers, because of its sweet $499 price. The drawback: It has a 6-megapixel sensor (a megapixel is a measurement of a camera's resolution) compared with 10 for Nikon's new D60 and the Sony A300, and 12 for the Rebel XSi.

Both the D40 and D60 can autofocus only with digital-era Nikon lenses. Older lenses can be used, but they must be manually focused.

For first-time Nikon buyers, the D40 is the more logical and economical choice over the D60, unless you plan on cropping a lot and making superlarge blow-ups.

Canon Rebel XSi vs. Nikon D40 or D60? I opt for the Rebel, for the 3-inch screen (Nikon's is 2.5 inches) and extra megapixels.

Overall, though, I'd give the nod to Sony's Alpha A300 for any first-time SLR buyers, as long as they don't need a lot of lenses. The consistent focus makes it a really sharp choice.

p/s:I watch SONY STYLE Magazine on AXN last night where i saw they commenting on SONY Alpha A350. Oh, its a darn nice camera i think :)

New Theme for My Blog

Dudes and Gals,

I have found this cool website providing cool free templates for blogger and wordpress. Feel free to go to their websites (see link at the footer below my blog).

How's my blog looks now? :-)

What do all those ports with FIN_WAIT_2 in "netstat -n" mean,

Essentially when a server receives a request to close a TCP
connection from a client, it replies to the client with a packet with
the FIN (for finish) bit set in the TCP header. The client then
replies to the server with a packet containing a ACK (for
acknowledge) bit in the header. The client then sends a packet a with
the FIN bit set in the TCP header, finally the server sends a packet
with an ACK bit set in the header and its all over and the port is

The Hard Truth About Soft Skills, only 25% success in job depends on technical knowledge!

The Hard Truth about Soft Skills

By Shari Lifland

In business, we often hear HR-types refer to "soft skills." Since "soft" has a light-weight, somewhat warm and fuzzy connotation, these abilities are often considered unimportant, or, at most, secondary to the "hard" skills—technical ability and factual knowledge—needed to get the job done. But professional trainer Peggy Klaus is here to tell us that it's time to pay soft skills their props, because these are the core competencies that can make or break your career.

In her new book The Hard Truth About Soft Skills—Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner (Collins, 2008), Klaus presents 54 workplace lessons based on her years of training, coaching, and interviewing people at all levels. What she found is that people aren't getting where they want to go in their careers. She writes, "Whether young or old, experienced or inexperienced, what struck me most about their stories of missed opportunities and derailed careers was this: Their problems rarely stemmed from a shortfall in technical or professional expertise, but rather from a shortcoming in the soft skills arena with their personal, social, communication and self-management behaviors."

Research backs up Klaus's findings:
Research conducted with Fortune 500 CEOs by the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation, found that 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge.
• A survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that although MBA's were strong in analytical aptitude, quantitative expertise, and information-gathering ability, they were sorely lacking in other critical areas that employers find equally attractive: strategic thinking, written and oral communication, leadership, and adaptability.

Klaus has organized her book into eight chapters, each covering an area in which soft skills play an especially significant role: career management, getting the job done, communication, handling critics, office politics, self-promotion, dealing with differences, and leadership. Here are some insights from the chapter on communication.

The Importance of Listening
To ensure that you really understand what the other person is saying:

§ Remain silent until the other person has finished. After she stops, ask for clarification with a question like, "Let me be sure that I understand what you're saying." Then paraphrase her words to see if you've gotten it right.

§ Be curious instead of defensive. Eagerly and excitedly, ask the other person to add more specifics so you can truly understand what she means.

§ Use both nonverbal and verbal cues to convey understanding and empathy, such as nodding your head in agreement saying things like, "I understand how you could feel that way," or "Please, tell me more."

General Listening Do's and Don'ts:


  • Keep an open mind
  • Listen attentively for the total meaning
  • Tune in to the feelings of the speaker along with the facts
  • Be present and focused
  • Stay attentive to nonverbal cues
  • Ask the right questions at the right time
  • Pay attention to both content and delivery
  • Know what your hot buttons are and don't let them rule your behavior
  • Listen with your heart along with your head

  • Make assumptions or prejudgments
  • Try to fill "airtime"
  • Interrupt with your thoughts or advice
  • Interrogate
  • Preach
  • Take the subject off into another direction
  • Multitask or let you mind wander

Klaus concludes: "Mastering soft skills takes persistence. It requires that you be mindful about yourself and your career. It demands that you look honestly and critically at your behavior, as well as genuinely being open to feedback—whether good or bad. Mastering these practical and tactical skills doesn't magically happen overnight. It requires hard work, but the payoff can be tremendous…Whether you are an extroverted marketing person or an introverted engineer, mastering the soft skills will serve you well."

If Klaus's findings inspire you to spiff up your own soft skills, you can take an online automated self-assessment quiz at that allows you to respond to 24 items and receive instant feedback on which soft skills areas you need to improve, along with customized advice from Klaus.

About the Author:

Shari Lifland manages content for AMA's Members-only Website, edits several AMA e-Newsletters, and is associate editor of MWorld.

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