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Comment: Re:Can we get a tape drive to back this up? (Score 1) 219

by bill_mcgonigle (#47762779) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Just wanted to say, really good analysis - fair and on the mark. Tape has a very good home in the high end.

It's remarkable how amazing the low-end of hard-drive backup has become. I can set up a small business with a simple ZFS mirror (with or without SSD cache) and by running the default auto-snapshot scripts they can have a year's worth of data retention, on and off-site copies, encrypted even, for well under a grand, and the whole thing is random-access retrievable, online.

I think in real terms my QIC-80 drive from the early 90's was more expensive. And the DLT's we used at work were just astronomically expensive.

Comment: Re:Seagate failures (Score 1) 219

by bill_mcgonigle (#47762725) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

They used to be so good, but (wouldn't you know) it was when I bought a set of 24 of them (staggered lots) for a big ZFS NAS was the time their quality took a dive. Every drive failed within three years - yeah, there was a warranty but I'd trade not dealing with that on 24 drives, one at a time (failed about every 2 weeks)! And this was in an always-on well-cooled data center with clean power.

I switched over to Hitachi and have been much happier with the reliability. I'm hoping that the WD acquisition doesn't destroy them but they're the best bet right now. I did find that some of their big drives are 'green' and frankly the slowest drives I've used since the 90's. The trick is to use the NAS drives, and those perform how you'd expect a drive built anytime in the aughts or later to perform. And their power consumption is really trivially more - you can save far more energy by fronting your disk pool with SSD's (ZFS log/cache or dm-cache) than by buying the very slow 'green' drives anyway. Not moving heads is the ultimate power savings!

Comment: Re:Bets on first use (Score 1) 223

by bill_mcgonigle (#47758547) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

There are, but the feature doesn't work as a theft deterrent unless almost everybody has it.

Every iPhone in use has this feature. iPhones are still the most-stolen phones.

Are you saying Android phones all have to have the feature to protect iPhone users? Because my understanding is that iPhone thieves turn off the phones immediately and keep them in RF-shielded bags/rooms until they're reprogrammed for the illicit market.

And I still don't get how you validate this feature if you're going to rely on it for security.

Comment: Re:Worldwide reach (Score 1) 223

by bill_mcgonigle (#47758471) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Yet I have not heard of a pandemic of hacker-led mass bricking of iPhones.

There are some psychopathic blackhats who just destroy for the sake of destroying. Fortunately these are few - evidenced by the near total lack of PC malware that destroys the computer.

Then there are hacktivists who would do something like bricking a million phones at once the first month after this bill's required new phones are on the market to prove the point that government mandates come with unintended consequences.

It will be interesting to see if they do that. It would be very unfortunate for the owners of those phones. They would argue that society will be better off for it in the long run. Not satyagraha enough for me, but I can see the thought process.

Comment: Re:What's so American (Score 2, Insightful) 435

a libertarian country would be 100% toll roads

Uh, every road in America is a toll road. Have you ever heard about gasoline taxes? Does pre-paying your road fees at the pump make you happier for some reason (would love to hear what that reason could be) than paying the fees as you use the roads (ala EZPass et. al. - let's assume you can use them anonymously).

The difference is that now the gas taxes are not all spent on the roads (they get diverted to police pensions and political cronies' boondoggles) and the money that is spent on the roads does not go through a true competitive bidding process (again with the cronies), making the costs higher and quality lower than they ought to be.

I abandoned that stupid philosophy that day.

It sounds like you did so without understanding how roads are paid for. Look, it's hard to know how everything works, but the more people do know how things work the more likely they are to be libertarians. Because people suck, especially those who seek power.

I don't want to live in an ideologically pure world; I want to live in a good world, and libertarianism wouldn't lead to a good world.

It's an ideologically-driven stance to accept more expensive, lower quality roads and political corruption and waste for the sake of a particular revenue model. Also one that necessarily supports a worse world.

Comment: 30 days out? No mystery OS. (Score 1) 233

by bill_mcgonigle (#47758071) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

The whole premise is stupid. If they're 30 days from being in stores, then the media have already gone to press and the boxes are being loaded and shrink-wrapped and loaded onto cargo ships as I type this.

There's no mystery entry of a new operating system that's also going to be released at the same time. Microsoft doesn't do that. Heck, even Apple doesn't do that.

Somebody could speculate that Microsoft will be releasing Windows 9 with a free AI-enhanced Teddy Ruxpin, and find a Chinese leaker to "confirm" it, but that's also a stupid premise for anybody to accept.

Comment: "2-socket system" (Score 2) 98

by bill_mcgonigle (#47757963) Attached to: IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch

Seeing the headline I almost skipped this one since IBM has such a tendency to build expectation and then under-deliver.

But since x86 is gone to Lenovo, I figured this one might be interesting. They might finally put out something I might need to know about - they might leverage their non-IBM-PC-encumbered mainboard designs to make something really compelling for disposable cloud computing and hire a few guys to make sure, say CentOS 7, is easy to deploy on it. I was reminded of the talk c. 1999 when IBM was going to setup Linux as an 'LPAR' (IIRC) and you could run 256 instances on one of their big-iron machines (this was when nobody was virtualizing anything and VMWare was still at Cornell).

I thought, "they might actually be coming out with a 4-U box with sixteen processors in it that a cloud provider could cost-justify vs. whitebox x86 pizza boxes and offer management advantages, or maybe a blade system that would make it easy to deploy a compute cluster with 96 processors on a shelf and a tuned-assembly library for HPC." IBM has the means to do all of those things and there's a tremendous market for them. Finally, without the x86 albatross, it's POWER's time to shine.

"2-socket system".

IBM POWER - disappointing the industry since 1989.

Comment: Re:Told ya... (Score 4, Insightful) 205


So all that "slippery slope" shit from 10 years ago doesn't seem so stupid now, does it?

The biggest lesson learned is that when Congress passes a law, to kill a program like Total Information Awareness, all NSA will do is change code-names and reassign the workers to a different team.

When NSA says "we have not done X in program Y", it means they have done X in program Z. When it says it has not conducted illegal activity under Authority Z, it has done it anyway, under some other contrived interpretation of a different authority.

To quote Robin Koerner on every new NSA disclosure: "Of course they did."

Now then, who thinks we still live in a functional Republic?

Comment: Re:My opinion on the matter. (Score 1) 751

by bill_mcgonigle (#47750629) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Also, it challanges a lot of sacred cows that people hold dear to them. You see kind of a religeous attachment to certain ideas, that is tough to give up, even when presented with a system that provides a different model of working

Very well put. In any group of humans you have the conservatives and the liberals (in the true political sense, not the f*ed up media representations). The conservatives protect us from going off half-cocked and the liberals prevent us from stagnating.

The thing is, people have been trying to replace SYSV init for twenty years. Upstart, Makefile-based systems, etc. - it's not a very new idea. The big distro maintainers feel systemd has finally become more viable than SYSV init.

I bemoan some of the loss in flexibility (I still run an rc.local almost everywhere, even under systemd) but since nobody ever succeeded in making SYSV init fast, it's probably a case of the pendulum swinging just a little bit too far the other way.

Somebody will graft node.js or go or [that redhat thing that's almost a good scripting language] to systemd and then we'll be back towards the middle but better off.

Comment: Re:Spherical Torus (Score 1) 146

by bill_mcgonigle (#47750565) Attached to: Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Last time I was at the Princeton lab, the thing that impressed me even more than the fusion reactor (it just goes "phht") was the flywheel room. Imagine an indoor soccer field that's just rows and rows of massive 12' flywheels, all spinning up with grid power until they're suddenly all magnetically braked, to get enough juice to force two hydrogen atoms together.

Steampunk authors can't dream up anything as cool as physicists and mechanical engineers working on big problems.

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