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Comment Why does a drive commit suicide when writes fail? (Score 5, Insightful) 204 204

The drive's media wear indicator ran out shortly after 700TB, signaling that the NAND's write tolerance had been exceeded. Intel doesn't have confidence in the drive at that point, so the 335 Series is designed to shift into read-only mode and then to brick itself when the power is cycled. Despite suffering just one reallocated sector, our sample dutifully followed the script. Data was accessible until a reboot prompted the drive to swallow its virtual cyanide pill.

Who thought this was a good idea? If the drive thinks future writes are unstable, good for it to go into read only mode. But to then commit suicide on the next reboot? What if I want to take one final backup, and I lose power?

Comment Do longevity tests account for crappy power? (Score 2) 602 602

CFLs, of all brands, have not lasted nearly as long as advertised at my house. I don't think I've had any last more than a year. However, the power at my house is terrible -- lights flicker and dim several times a day, and I completely lose power several times a year. All the computers are on UPSes, but it would be prohibitive to put all the lights on one. Old fashioned, incandescent light bulbs seem much more robust than at least CFLs, and I'm not too excited to test LEDs. So, do any of these lab tests which promise CFLs and LED that last for year test with real-world power sources?

Comment Re:You can come back with half the pay and no bene (Score 2) 325 325

Was she surprised by this outcome? What percentage of the previous, say, 20 history PhD students at her institution now have tenure track jobs? In the past 10 years, how many history PhDs has her institution matriculated? And how many tenure-track faculty have they hired? If the institution has graduated 50 PhDs in the last 10 years, and hired 5, you don't have to be a statistics major to see that there's a looming problem.

Comment Where did the money go? (Score 3, Interesting) 501 501

As a software engineer, I'm very curious about where this $400 million went. In all the articles about this project, I've never seen a breakdown of where the money was spent, at least at the granularity of people/hardware/software. Typically software projects spent most of their budgets on people, but a $400 M project that is basically a year old implies on the order of thousands of employees. That can't be right? Did they get dinged by ridiculous licensing fees from the usual suspects? Where did the money go?

Comment Re:School code (Score 4, Insightful) 292 292

I'm sure I've missed other ways academic code is bad.

The biggest difference is that academic code is _short_. If your whole code base is 10k lines, it's easy to cover all the requirements in a clean design. If you are dealing with millions of lines, there's all kinds of oddball unforeseen interactions and requirements that pop up way late in the game.

Comment How do you get a SCADA system to test? (Score 1) 104 104

So, if I'm a random security researcher, how do I get my hands on these SCADA systems to test them? They certainly aren't open source, and I'm guessing they aren't cheap. I doubt you can just type a credit card number into GE's web site and download one. How do they get one to look at?

Comment ObJwz (Score 1) 379 379

ObJwz: http://www.jwz.org/blog/2011/07/mork-keeps-on-giving-when-the-database-worms-eat-into-your-murder-trial/

That mork format was really something else. Whoever thought that having the browser history stored in an impenetrable format with no tools to read it should turn in their nerd badge.

Comment Re:Itanium 3 is a decent CPU (Score 1) 124 124

And for high-end use, the Itanium is a genuinely useful CPU. Because the performance of a cluster is a function of the communication delays, very high-end clusters WANT to have very high-end CPUs.

Note the above is certainly true for high-end HPC clusters, but running large Oracle databases on those kinds of machines seems kind of expensive for the performance you get. For Oracle (and other databases), the high-thread count Sparc T-3 / T-4 kinds of processors will give you much better performance at lower cost. Of the few ia-64 installations, I bet most are floating-point heavy HPC clusters, I wonder how many are running Oracle or VMS and "business" workloads.

But what do I know, I've only been observing what actually works vs what the customers want for 35 years

Of course, if customers actually wanted Oracle on Itanium, there wouldn't have been a lawsuit...

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?