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Comment: Convenience in place of Caution (Score 1) 233

by div_2n (#47432495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

You're trading caution for convenience.

I have automated some things such as patch installation overnight only to wake up to a broken server despite the patches being heavily tested and known to work in 100% of the cases before only to not have them work when nobody was watching.

I urge you to only consider unattended automation overnight when it's for a system that can reasonably incur unexpected downtime without jeopardizing your job and/or the organization. If it's critical -- DO NOT AUTOMATE.

You've been warned.

Comment: Re:So what happens... (Score 1) 152

by Shoten (#47432255) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

They already do this. Check points in Iraq and other countries like Israel are known for being blown up. Buses are more typical because they are enclosed making the blast more effective. The thing is that the death toll usually isn't much higher than a bad car wreck compared to other methods so i think they are targeting the mechanism moreso than what we consider terrorist goals to be. But thats just my limited guess to why they aren't more popular in weatern nations.

The way the Israelis learned to deal with this is very simple. You have a population coming through a checkpoint...almost always, in the case of Israel, a checkpoint between Israel proper and one of the Occupied Territories (Gaza, West Bank). The people coming through are, overwhelmingly, the population from where the risk comes...Palestinians. The cordon is designed so that a suicide bomber will not 1, be able to blow a hole through the barrier that the checkpoint acts as a valve for, and 2, be able to kill the people manning the checkpoint. That leaves only the Palestinians as potential victims...with the deterrent effect that results. Hamas doesn't win bonus points for blowing up their own people.

Comment: Re:This is why you need.. (Score 5, Insightful) 233

by Shoten (#47432207) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Load balanced or mirrored systems. You can upgrade part of it any time, validate it, then swap it over to the live system when you are happy.

Having someone with little or no sleep doing critical updates is not really the best strategy.

First off, you can't mirror everything. Lots of infrastructure and applications are either prohibitively expensive to do in a High Availability (HA) configuration or don't support one. Go around a data center and look at all the Oracle database instances that are single-instance...that's because Oracle rapes you on licensing, and sometimes it's not worth the cost to have a failover just to reach a shorter RTO target that isn't needed by the business in the first place. As for load balancing, it normally doesn't do what you think it does...with virtual machine farms, sure, you can have N+X configurations and take machines offline for maintenance. But for most load balancing, the machines operate as a single entity...maintenance on one requires taking them all down because that's how the balancing logic works and/or because load has grown to require all of the systems online to prevent an outage. So HA is the only thing that actually supports the kind of maintenance activity you propose.

Second, doing this adds a lot of work. Failing from primary to secondary on a high availability system is simple for some things (especially embedded devices like firewalls, switches and routers) but very complicated for others. It's cheaper and more effective to bump the pay rate a bit and do what everyone does, for good reason...hold maintenance windows in the middle of the night.

Third, guess what happens when you spend the excess money to make everything HA, go through all the trouble of doing failovers as part of your maintenance...and then something goes wrong during that maintenance? You've just gone from HA to single-instance, during business hours. And if that application or device is one that warrants being in a HA configuration in the first place, you're now in a bit of danger. Roll the dice like that one too many times, and someday there will be an outage...of that application/device, followed immediately after by an outage of your job. It does happen, it has happen, I've seen it happen, and nobody experienced who runs a data center will let it happen to them.

Comment: Re:Solar activity (Score 2) 70

The guy who runs the website works for NASA, but I'm fairly certain that it's a side project, and not a NASA-funded website. (if it was, they'd have NASA logos on it, and not ads)

Solar Monitor used to be hosted by NASA, but it's currently at Trinity College, Dublin.

NASA funded projects would include Helioviewer (also ESA funded) and ISWA

However ... there was something a couple of years back and now NASA's not allowed to provide space weather predictions to the public ... so you have to get forecast information from NOAA's SWPC

Comment: Re:Wikipedia survives it (Score 1) 128

by Shoten (#47427621) Attached to: How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

If a sufficiently large population of interested people can be induced to correct the map it shouldn't be an insurmountable problem. Wikipedia suffers and reverts many thousands of bits of misinformation daily. Not to say it's perfect but it's good enough.

Issue #1: Wikipedia is actually in crisis at the moment, over this very issue. We'll see if they actually do survive it.

Issue #2: With Google Maps, there's the larger population that has a very small incentive to edit everything, and although they have a greater incentive to offset information that's false...those incidences are like needles in a haystack, and it's very very hard to find out which ones they are. There will be enormous duplication of effort as well, since the best-patronized businesses will invariably be monitored by many people while others will go ignored due to smaller constituent populations or populations that tend to be less tech-savvy. Conversely, the attacker needs to do very little to do their damage, and requires a far lower degree of vigilance to be successful at it. So, the "sufficiently large population" of "interested people" is extremely hard to accomplish, and even harder to use efficiently.

Comment: Re:Reaching for symbolism - and failing (Score 1) 265

I think you have read too much of Karl Marx's twaddle.

Income inequality is what gives poor people a way of buying food - they work for the rich! Take it away, and no one works for anyone. If you are not self-sufficient, you die.

I know here on /. people like to say "Under capitalism, man exploits man, while under communism, its the other way round". Its not true. Under communism, everyone has nothing, not much happens and it gradually gets worse.

People dont risk death because their e-neighbour has a Hummer and they have a Ford Fiesta. They risk death because the alternative is a slower and more painful death of their entire family Whether by war, famine, of mafia inspired shootouts, its esactly the same reasoning.

I expect Dubai to go up in flames any time soon, but I doubt the dome will make a difference to when or how.

"Je suis Marxist, avec tendence Groucho!"

Comment: Re:Capabilities (Score 4, Insightful) 352

by Shoten (#47420093) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

This article doesn't mention the incredible upgrades of the F-35. It has incredible situational awareness (SA), highly networked to acquire SA from all sources, sensors onboard to provide SA, smaller that the F-22, more stealthy, and a range of other characteristics that the pentagon desires (wiki). Those capabilities are the top reason for the F-35 to exist at all. As development has progressed, then the money problems and failures came up as they always do. The capability needs don't justify the failures of the program, but they need to be taken into consideration when there's talk of changing or canceling the program.

Everyone has a different concern. Congressmen are probably concerned about money staying in their state to stay elected. The Pentagon is worried about capability and not being embarrassed over a big failure. The tax payers are worried about not wasting money and some of them about keeping an F-35 job. It's a complicated issue with lots of caveats.

Ah, excellent points. If only we'd have had these planes in Iraq and Afghanistan, we'd have...oh, wait a minute. NOTHING WOULD HAVE CHANGED.

Our weak points do not hinge on air superiority. The current aircraft with our current pilots are demonstrably far and above better than anyone else on the planet. Yes, we do need to plan ahead...but is a radical new level of sophistication important and/or useful? Consider that no other nation on the planet retains even the ability to project power over distance from their home country, absent an ally where they can stage aircraft. The Russians have one aircraft carrier (the Kuznetsov) which is a steaming pile of shit that's only ever been out 4 times, and never far from home. It lacks catapults, so as a result aircraft that fly from it must go light on both munitions and fuel. It suffers from massive problems with its power plant, and is unreliable. The Chinese have a carrier too...but no ships to support it. Oh, and it's a carbon copy of the Kuznetsov and heads have rolled among the people who managed the purchase of it from the Russians. So it's shit too.

Meanwhile, Congress is doing all they can to axe...the A-10. The A-10 Warthog has killed more tanks than any other weapon in our arsenal, not to mention how many soldiers it's saved via close air support missions. It's universally loved among the pilots who fly it and the troops who have been protected by it, it's tried and true, and it's cheap as hell. Simple, rugged, incredibly durable even when shot to bits and indescribably lethal to ground targets, it's a much better indication of the kind of aircraft role that will be central to future conflicts we face.

So yeah...the F-35 has all sorts of whiz-bang cool stuff, stuff that we don't need, while being unreliable, insanely wasteful of money, and the wrong place for our primary focus to go for the future of war.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 2) 159

by Shoten (#47399969) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

Actually, it's probably something more like TIBCO BusinessEvents with an orchestration engine added

Back in my time, we called what they have done now "an expert system". I fail to see why that designation should be suddenly inadequate.

Because back then, that was a conceptual description that (if it became real) described an entirely custom system that was built from the ground up. These days, there are multiple types of such systems, most of which are built along specific architectural lines using COTS. Just like once upon a time, "car" was a pretty good descriptor because the next level of detail went WAY into the weeds. Now, there are sports cars, SUVs, minivans, coupes, etc.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 5, Insightful) 159

by Shoten (#47399243) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

In other words, this is basically Drools, plus a ton of billable consulting hours?

Actually, it's probably something more like TIBCO BusinessEvents with an orchestration engine added. But what's really cool is that they did the hard part: codifying the actual rules under which the overall system operates. That's where these kinds of systems either fly or fall. There are tons of rules that organizations use to make decisions, but a lot of those rules are quite informal and don't operate at a central point of authority. It takes a lot of digging to find them all, so that the undocumented process (for example) used by the foreman of the team that does rail maintenance to manage overtime among his crew gets incorporated into the overall chaining logic. Otherwise, the new system will either fail to reflect reality as teams rearrange their own schedules out of sync with their directives, or will wreak havoc among the employees.

Comment: Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (Score 5, Interesting) 284

by digitalhermit (#47395021) Attached to: Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

I have been experimenting with this technique since the early 80s. It is possible to stimulate the claustrum via pressure along the sternocleidomastoid. By pinching this area it causes sympathetic nerve activity that can effective render someone unconscious. My colleague has perfected the technique to the point that he uses it at parties. Quite eerie, actually.

Peace. Stay healthy and have a long life..

Comment: Define "Change jobs?" (Score 1) 281

by Shoten (#47388791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

By "change jobs," do you mean change employers as well? What about lateral moves within the same company, or between different organizations within the same company?

Ultimately, how often you change roles (either change in job description, responsibilities, or employer, as I'm defining it) depends on the following things:

1, demand in your field. If your field has more demand than supply, these are the salad days...moving from company to company can be beneficial. These days will not last forever, so make sure you take advantage of them, but also be wary of reaching the pinnacle of compensation. At some point, the market will catch up, and you may end up being more expensive than you're worth when that day comes.

2, the company/organization you work for and the opportunity it provides. If you have growth still ahead of you and are continuing to grow in your current place, then moving is probably not a great idea. Money's good, but development is better. A lot of companies don't have a career path that's technical (instead of automatically turning you into a manager who never will touch technology again), so that's a consideration as well. Which way do you want your career to go?

3, your current happiness in the role you occupy. This is for you to define, and the rationale behind it should be obvious.

4, how long you've been there/industry tolerance for job-hopping. If you've been at the last 4 jobs for less than a year each, this may not look so great on a resume. But some industries/career paths are quite tolerant of such things, understanding the current state of the market.

At least, that's how I see it, in broad strokes.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp