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Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 4, Insightful) 283

by Ash Vince (#46778435) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

The crown was an insane rule that every new hyperlink had to be aproved not just by a department head but by the vice chancellor himself.

At that point you should have just emailed everyone on the committee, and copied in the vice-chancellor with some stats on exactly how many approvals this would generate on a daily basis. Include the actual statistics for the previous 7 days so if this was generating 50 pages per day you had some clear number to back this up while still in the planning stage. That was clearly why you were put on the committee, to stop a bunch of know nothings from coming up with a stupid policy, you failed.

The way to succeed as a techie is not about being technically brilliant any more, it is about how you can talk people round to your way of thinking and use evidence to back up your points of view.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 5, Insightful) 283

by Ash Vince (#46778309) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

They want bureaucracy, they make the paperwork. Tell them to track windows and distro security pages, the changes are there.

Yep. They're the "experts". Just tell them the Microsoft KB number, that's all the information they need.

Yup, follow this advice and come across like an unhelpful douchbag.

Or, bend over backwards to help them. Provide them with a break down on every single patch (a few line summary with a link to the KB article for the full details), then give each patch a priority based on its impact and come up with different deployment routes for each one, then explain to your manager who allocates your time why patch management for the CAB board just became a full time job.

Also, if they ever reject any and you end up a dependency hell where you cannot install a critical patch because of a low impact one you rejected (you do test each patch deployment run on a dummy server don't you?) then explain why the process failed, politely, without saying thing like "I told you this was dumb years ago!".

Alternatively, if the system runs for a few months and every single patch sent to the CAB board has been approved then you can clearly demonstrate the do not really add anything and start making rational arguments to abandon the process from a sound basis while demonstrating you are an excellent team player who easily adapts.

But if you would rather come across like a non-team player who hates any interference in your system admin fiefdom then, just go with the douche bag option and watch your job get outsourced in 6 months.

In my experience the world of work is full of crap like this, times when processes that are overly bureaucratic are forced on us techies even though we clearly see them as a waste of our time. Unfortunately this is generally just stuff we have to lap up as part of our job, if you can, you generally end up earning more and with the greater long term job security that working as part of a larger company provides.

An excellent book on this sort of business related stuff is called "Who moved my cheese" and the gist of it is that you want to come across as and "enabler" rather than a "blocker". That often means trying your best to make what is clearly a stupid idea a success.

Comment: Re:Revolt? (Score 1) 794

by Ash Vince (#46766061) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy


The other truth is... the American Revolution wasn't started by a bunch of serfs, it was started by rich land owners who didn't like their deal...

That is the truth about almost any revolution there ever was. In reality any uprising of the masses that did not get organized by some silly or evil group from the top, failed.

It is worth reading some of the sections of Goldstein's book in George Orwell's 1984 regarding this.

He suggests that all revolutions are actually started and driven by the middle classes so it is them who you really need to watch as they who possess the skills like leadership needed to stir the proletariat into action. Thus generally the result of most revolutions is that the old ruling class is destroyed and the middle class replace them, the proletariat however generally stay in the same position apart from a few who are elevated to form the new middle class along with some members of the previous ruling class who didn't put up too much of a fight and went quietly.

Comment: Re:Are you kidding (Score 3, Insightful) 794

by Ash Vince (#46765911) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

I'm from Europe. I know what it is like if you actually DO have parties with diverging world views. There are countries where you actually have everything from far left to far right to choose from.

And if you look at certain parts of Europe (ie, anywhere not the UK) you have proportional representation where people with politically diverse views actually have to work together to get stuff done. The problem is that makes for a "weak" government because it tends to be more responsive to the public who elected them. Can't have that :)

Comment: Re:Gatling guns? (Score 1) 157

by Ash Vince (#46755563) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

"A failing road car stops on the road. Not always ideal, but generally a controllable event"

Far from ideal, quite often fatal. A failing car on a crowded interstate can result in an accident involving many vehicles with lots of casualties, and this happens shockingly often.

"A failing flying car drops out of the sky."

Unlikely. You have redundant systems, if your main control system fails the backup kicks in, you have 8 engines and still have limited flight abilities even if over half of them fail simultaneously, and even if absolutely everything else fails there is a parachute big enough to bring the entire car down relatively gently.

"Therefore it has to be orders of magnitude more reliable than your typical car."

Yes, that part is correct.

What happens when some terrorist scumbag deliberately crashes it into a heavily populated are laden with gasoline and soap (napalm). Or they go for a very tall building but fill the vehicle with high explosive instead.

Flying cars open up a whole new avenue of terrorist targets as they are far more manoeuvrable then a light aircraft. If they became ubiquitous they also have the problem that it would become commonplace for people to get lost and accidentally fly into restricted airspace so you could not just shoot down anyone that did on sight.

The reality is that flying cars are not ever likely to happen in our lifetimes because it is in governments interest to keep most of us on the ground and only let a small minority fly around. It used to be that costs of manufacture prohibited flying cars but if this price ever comes down then government will just come up with some insane airworthiness test or similar that costs billions to put a vehicle through. Or just keep the pilots licence requirement, not matter how simple that a flying car could actually be made.

I believe the term is "artificial scarcity"

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 4, Insightful) 115

Well, I see you haven't established that the Koch brothers are actually right wing.

All the Koch brothers care about is making themselves richer and paying less in tax. They mostly donate case to conservative campaigns and think tanks, that counts as right wing in my book.

Also note this bit:

"Charles also organizes twice yearly meetings[20] with Republican donors.[16]"

I would have linked directly the the references above but they are pay walled.

I could not give a crap about the Gmail example, but the fact is that "libertarianism" in the US is just a front, funded by the likes of the Koch brothers (and others) and designed to facilitate a tax regime friendly to the richest 1% of the population. If that does not count as right wing I do not know what does.

Comment: Re:Situation is a Shambles (Score 2) 239

by Ash Vince (#46713565) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

That sounds like a Mint thing. Seriously, Debian (the great grandparent of Mint) had the patch as fast as anybody. Heck, by the time I logged into my Mac at work, MacPorts had pushed the patch.

I wouldn't make such a sweeping statement about the "situation" when you've hitched your wagon to a project that's pulling from a project that's pulling from a project that's (etc).

Interestingly our Debian servers are completely unaffected by this bug since we use Debian 6 :) Sometimes it pays to be a little behind the times.

Comment: Re:Thank you for the mess (Score 1) 239

by Ash Vince (#46713403) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

In this case, there was a simple fix, recompiling OpenSSL with the proper flag and going, so letting people know as soon as possible is the best option. Those who are serious about security don't wait for Ubuntu to update their apt servers.

Recompiling something from source is often a complete no-no, not because the sysadmin is unable to, but because he his forbidden from doing so by his corporate overlords. It is trusted binaries (via checksum) from the likes of RedHat or nothing.

Comment: Re:Not necessarily hate (Score 1) 1482

by Ash Vince (#46634213) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

Orthodox Christian theology maintains several points: (1) Homosexuality is a sin, (2) unrepentant sin goes hand-in-hand with alienation from God, and (3) alienation from God leads to both unhappiness in this present life and a missed opportunity for happiness after death.

Orthodox Christianity also forbids things like money lending for a profit (usury), most christians seem to have forgotten about this particular bit of sin though. Modern Christianity is so far away from what Christ actually intended he must be whirling in his grave even if he still has the cross attached.

Comment: Re:Not as bigger deal as it sounds if you RTFA (Score 1) 243

by Ash Vince (#46629359) Attached to: Dropbox's New Policy of Scanning Files For DMCA Issues

I don't believe in copyright in its current form or the notion that a person can perform a single work and collect money on it for effectively forever.

I don't believe in endless copyright either but I do believe that in the initial period (say 10 or 20 years) that copyright should be enforceable. The problem I have is with the great many privileged young folk, still living off the back of mum and dad while they are at university advocating the abolition of copyright law just so they can watch some crappy film without paying.

Usually when people carp on about abolishing copyright it is simply because all they do is consume digital content without actually creating any of their own. This makes them net gainers if they never had to pay anything for that which they create.

It's a complete violation of the original and intended notion of copyright. I am the sole source of income for my family which includes a wife, an elementary school student and a young adult in college. I also have a son in the service. I am a wartime veteran and was in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

So you actively fought in a war to support the capitalist way of life (Desert Storm was a war to ensure Saddam did not gain possession of Kuwaiti oil, not about democracy as Kuwait was very far from a democracy to begin with), you are obviously proud of your child doing the same (Afghanistan is also about securing oil supplies) but neglect to understand that a key part of capitalism is that it also applies to digital works as well as physical goods?

Most of the US GDP now comes from the creation of copyrightable works rather than by physical production, without international consensus on copyright the US would be even more bankrupt than it already is as exporting copyrighted digital works is one of the few things that helps the countries balance of payments. Copyright, is a necessary part of capitalism. Without it, the system will fail. This was clearly understood by economists pretty much as soon as the printing press was invented.

Nothing has changed with the advent of the digital world in this regard yet as we still lack the ability to endlessly copy food and shelter which are the greatest human needs. In order to encourage people to enter the creative arts they need to be able to exchange their services for money in order to buy those essentials.

Comment: Re:Not as bigger deal as it sounds if you RTFA (Score 1) 243

by Ash Vince (#46625205) Attached to: Dropbox's New Policy of Scanning Files For DMCA Issues

You are trying to equate a work with value. You think it has value simply because great effort was involved. I disagree.

If you should "suffer" it should be because that's what you want to do. And the reward is something you are proud of. If the reward is money, and that is the measure of your pride? Hrm... does anyone need to elaborate more on the folley? Could anyone who measures success in money ever be happy? Is there ever enough money for people who are motivated by it?

Here's a clue: Happiness doesn't come from that. It comes from comfort and peace and an ease from fear and pain... from a lack of suffering. If you SUFFER for happiness, you're doing it wrong.

People always spout stuff like that until they have a family to feed. Once you have no other source of income other than that which you earn by creating stuff you look at the world very differently. In my part of the world you need to earn a very good wage in order to afford enough space for a family with 2 kids, that only comes from earning roughly twice what most people earn or by having a mummy and daddy with lots of cash.

Since I come from a single parent family and my mother has sod all I have to earn every penny I ever expect to need in life for myself. That includes any money to send my kids to college, and hopefully one day for them to be as privileged as you sound.

Your right in that money doesn't buy happiness, but if you have ever tried to live and bring up kids without any and with the bailiffs constantly knocking at your door you realise pretty quick that it can certainly stave off misery.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 2) 243

by Ash Vince (#46620099) Attached to: Dropbox's New Policy of Scanning Files For DMCA Issues

What does somebody else's data have to do with your data?

There is no "your" data or "there" data. There is only dropbox data. It seems at the point you upload a file they check it to see if they already have a copy and of they do they just add a pointer to the existing file rather than store a fresh copy.

And what if there is a hash collision?

By the sounds of it they must actually do a direct file compare rather than use a hash. They probably use some kind of hash to narrow down the options of stuff to compare it with but in the fallback case of a hash collision, and both files being exactly the same size they must have to do an exact comparison. That probably does not happen very often though and it sounds like this is process is only done once at the point a file is stored.

Comment: Re:You wanted privacy? (Score 4, Informative) 243

by Ash Vince (#46619961) Attached to: Dropbox's New Policy of Scanning Files For DMCA Issues

This is news, in the sense that Dropbox now actively crawls your files (DMCA still went about for publicly listed files anyway).

You obviously didn't bother to read the article.

The truth is that they always scan every single file uploaded to make sure they do not already have a copy of that file stored on their network. If they do, they throw your copy in the bin and just add an extra link to that stored copy in your account. That keeps their data usage lower as it means they never store duplicate copies of the same file, even if they are uploaded by completely different people.

So there is no crawling involved, this was done at the point of upload. They found that the same file had already been uploaded by someone else, shared, and that user got the shared copy of that file DMCA'd. Once a file has been DMCA'd in their system it seems it is blocked from being shared so only people uploaded that file also get to download it.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.