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Comment Re:25+ years (Score 1) 620

Not 1950's, but in my office there is a box of punch cards. On their edges[1] are written the monikers of different computer programs that still run today.

[1] You may know, or might like to know, that people used to write literally on the edges of the cards, like you would if you closed a book and wrote on the side opposite the binding. Not only did it make it easy to identify the dozen(s) of cards of your program in the box of hundreds, but also made it easy (easier) to sort them if you happened to spill them on the floor -- or if the car transporting your code to another site happened to roll over in a highway ditch, which allegedly did happen.

Comment One-line classic Cisco network outage (Score 1) 377

Working on Cisco command line, I was in the habit of typing "no " and doing a double-click-middle-click on the line I wanted to delete. Worked very well except for

        redistribute bgp 100 metric 100 metric-type 1 subnets route-map BGP2OSPF

In this specific copying the entire line after "no " does not remove the line, it just removes the route-map limitation, and hey presto I was redistributing our full BGP into OSP. Clincher was that it took some 20 minutes for the network to actually stop working, so bu that time I had totally forgotten about it. It took an hour to find out what the problem was and to correct it, during which my ISP was basically of the network.

Comment Norton can very well interfere with your Internet (Score 1) 479

Also turn off your antivirus software. Sometimes it gets in the way of the Internet.


Uhhhhh . . . I thought the same way you do. That's the only time I was wrong calling ISP tech support. I called to say that the new WiFi USB key (this was a few years ago) that I'd bought for my mother would get recognized, would connect and get DHCP but nothing more, so the problem was obviously on the router end. The first thing the tech asked was for me to turn off the antivirus. I fudged and said sure, ok... it's off... still doesn't work. The tech then quickly walked me through a series of lengthy MS-prefixed DOS-mode commands, and hey presto, no more problem. I asked what he'd done. He said he'd turned off my anti-virus. The driver for the big-name USB WiFi key wasn't signed, so Norton interfered with it. I told my Ma to buy another antivirus. The tech support was good (this was the guy who first picked up the phone), but sorry for most of you, it wasn't in the U.S. (it was French Orange). They'd got better since the day they told a friend of mine to restart Internet Explorer after he told them he'd diagnosed a failed route in their peering exchange.

And that is not the time when I installed a totally clean computer for my aunt who'd provided me with original CDs of Windows, Norton, et al., connected it to the Net, and the first popup was "Norton has detected that your system is trying to access the Internet, recommend Accept". I wondered what it could be, so I clicked for the details, and the packet in question was "incoming to port 135" from an IP somewhere in Africa.

Comment Re:Manners please. (Score 2) 479

I noticed there is a bit more perceived hostility when dealing with "text chat" support than over the phone.

Depends on if it is a real person. I've tried to use chat support on several occasions with different companies, and each time I've started out writing four or five sentences that outline my problem, what I've done to resolve it, what happened. I've *been* T3 support, after all. Every single time, the descendant of Eliza chatting with me started out asking me to confirm the nature of my problem, and continued asking me one by one the exact questions which I'd already addressed the very first time I hit Send. It is only when they have arrived at wit's end that a human (sometimes) steps in.

Comment My best manager (Score 4, Interesting) 146

told me that his job was only partially to tell me what to do (because I should know most of it) and mostly to shield me from the bureaucrap so that I could concentrate on doing it. I try to emulate that.

Two other nuggets I aim for:

- a good manager tells his people what *his* objectives are, and explains to them how that translates into the objectives he's giving them.

- there are different kinds of management for different people, and a good manager must adapt. A newbie or an incompetent *needs* micromanaging (but beware of giving the impression of thinking either one is incompetent). As they get older/wiser/more experienced the manager can go more and more hands-off, until with a senior engineer/whatever the manager should be able to just discuss strategy and budget and priorities and such.

Comment Re:Just GBE everywhere! WITH PATCH PANEL (Score 3, Insightful) 557

Terminate half the wires to one jack and half to the other.

You shouldn't even need to do that. I set up a simple patch panel of female ethernet connectors in my wiring closet, each connected to the female ethernet connectors all over the house. My POTS line comes into that wiring closet (well, my DSL line does, and my box has an RJ11 POTS connector). Plug the phone's RJ11 into the RJ45 where you want the telephone (yes, male RJ11 plugs into female RJ45 by design), find a male-male RJ11 to connect the corresponding patch panel RJ45 to the RJ11 POTS line, and bingo you can have your POTS telephone wherever you thought to place an ethernet outlet.

You probably want to avoid messing up connections between ethernet and POTS though. I've done it without ill effects, but no one phoned me during the time it was misplugged.

Now that I've wasted the mod point I awarded here before posting, some other tips, not all cool new tech:

- some place with ethernet that you can have a noisy server. Servers aren't that noisy any more, but I've had to junk one supposedly silent server because the power unit emitted a very annoying high-pitched whine, and cheap hard disks still make noise. This could be the wiring closet, but not necessarily.

- there's a (maybe European) quality of cable called "grade 3" that is better than cat6 (cat6e?) in that you can wire a satellite (coax) signal directly to it.

- if you use contractors, watch them. Every day. Get them used to the idea that they can ask you things. I put double RJ45 outlets in a lot of places, but the only place I really wanted two was where I was putting the television. Guess where the cabling guy decided on his own to only put a single because the patch panel had one hole less than needed?

- if you use contractors, watch them even more than that. I have a friend who used to change out of business work clothes into worker's coveralls in order to walk around his future house every evening. One evening he sees something bad (ISTR isolation) and calls it to the attention of the guy working nearby. The reply was "Oh yeah I know I messed up but it's too much work to correct, it'll be covered by drywall, the owner will never know".

- why not run cable to the fridge? To somewhere you might want a (PoE) surveillance camera? Wifi repeater?

- battery-powered doorbells suck.

- easily accessible storage space for things like vacuum cleaner, mop, dry food, clothes

- BTW, central vacuum cleaning, but storage is good anyway.

  - I put washing and drying machines on the bedroom floor instead of basement or kitchen. No more carrying dirty clothing up and down stairs, but YMMV if your sleep patterns might clash with the noise. BTW, drying machines are better and cheaper if they have a hole to the outside.

- depending on your local weather, DFV (double-flow ventilation) with heat exchange so you don't lose heat, and cheaper electricity and heating mentioned by others

- Kitchen: granite desktop. Draw-out trash can just underneath so you can just sweep peelings from the working area directly into the trash can. Dishwasher a foot or two above the usual level so you don't have to bend (you put your hand in the dishwasher a lot more often than in the oven, and kids can fall on the upwards-pointing knives in a dishwasher just like they can burn their hands on an oven). Power plugs for kitchen appliances of course, maybe ethernet?

- going to have animals? Where are you putting their food, will you shut up the dog during the night and if so where, do you need a cat door, etc.

Lots more of course, I have often heard that that the house you get perfect is the third one you build!

Comment Re:Toilets NOT in the bathroom (Score 1) 557

I'm only wasting one mod point here: OK, separate the toilet from the bathroom, perfect, but don't forget to put in a a sink for washing hands beside the toilet. It costs next to nothing and there are slim models that do not take up much space. I have two bathrooms with sink, two toilets with sink. Even with a family of four, I find it's a minimum.

Comment Re:I wouldn't use an Acer if you gave it to me. (Score 1) 417

Their products are uniformly flimsy, ugly and poorly constructed. It's truly more expensive to support these cheap things than to pay the difference for something of average or good quality.

THIS THIS THIS. I'm typing on an Acer laptop right now. The price was good, the specs were good, and it sure looks nice... But the touchpad is way too sensitive, the keyboard is flimsy, and the screws holding it together started falling out the moment I took it out of the box.

I've got a mobile phone too, same thing, the engineering and quality control is quite simply bad.

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