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Comment: Do you want them looking that closely (Score 1) 192

Disclaimer - I run a team managing datacentre installations / removals for a blue-chip IT company. I'm also a CDCD and a CDCMP

First of all - do you actually want management looking at what you do that closely. The best departments should be along the lines of 'you need to fund this many heads or else bad things happen'. If you want to put numbers in front of them you can talk about DCiE / PUE, and point out that the multi-million energy costs actually went down in relative terms due to adherence to best practices. You can also talk about ASHRAE, the EU code of conduct for datacentres, and every other 'badge' that you've signed up to as this makes management feel happy and they have something to compare with.

If you really want to make a point then talk about just how many other projects across the company relied on your team to deliver new infrastructure or services, how much new revenue was based on your hard work.

Of course, the longer you do the job the more you realise that all the awards and accolades end up with the guys there at the end of each of the project. And they all conveniently forget that it's your team that's installed 200+ servers, laid 50km of data cabling, and connected every single system correctly before the application guys could even start their job.

On the other hand, you have job security, you have one of the few jobs they can't outsource to India, China or Poland, and provided you keep your nose clean you'll still be there when they turn the lights out. So be happy being considered part of the furnture because in todays society the benefits of your job security far exceed any need for recognition.

Comment: Apple - the phone for your parents (Score 4, Insightful) 587

by SpankyDaMonkey (#42843413) Attached to: Woz Says iPhone Features Are 'Behind'

Amazing how the circle has turned when it comes to phones. The iPhone has gone from being the hip new boy breaking the rules to a member of the establishment that everyone else is slowly leaving behind.

It used to be that the iPhone was an inspirational device, a device that caused geek envy wherever you used it.

And now, well it's the device for the technical luddites who have more money than sense, or for those that Apple have managed to lock in to their closed-wall infrastructure and are now too wary of trying something else. In other words - it's the phone you recommend to your parents so you don't have to do tech support for them.

Comment: Just have your heart attack early (Score 1) 372

by SpankyDaMonkey (#42570529) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Stay Fit In the Office?

High stress job, desk based, and as it gets busy you work longer hours and you eat more crap because that's all the corporate vending machines sell at stupid o'clock of the day alongside toxic waste cunningly disguised as coffee.

So do what I did, smoke, drink, don't exercise and end up in hospital after 5 minor heart attacks and have 5 stents fitted.

I'm now an ex-smoker, I'm still overweight so that's the next challenge. 30 minutes a day walking and a packed lunch are the targets to fix that for this year.

Comment: Of course they'd say that to avoid global panic (Score 5, Informative) 286

by SpankyDaMonkey (#42319429) Attached to: NASA On Full Court Press To Deflate Doomsday Prophecies

There's 2 options here:

1. Everything is fine, no gobal apocalypse

2. There's something on the way that's going to kill us all, but if we tell you about it the whole world will panic and riots will stop the government getting itself to safety along with a handpicked few 'key' people

Either way - they'll say it's safe

And on that note, I'm going to hang up my tin foil hat

Comment: Nail velcro strips to the back of your desk (Score 2) 242

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41898107) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Extreme Cable Management?

Disclaimer - I run installations in a datacentre so I do this for a living.

Nail velcro to the back of your desk, instant cable guides and tidy. Velcro excess in to loops. Use a lot of velcro. Plan and execute a labelling scheme - either paper that you sellotape over the top of, or a proper brady label for every cable. Use dymo labels for every plug and AC-adapter so you know what each of them hooks up to.

Yes it's a pain. Plan on taking half a day to do it properly. Document it as you go if you can. Remember all you need is to do it properly once.

If it's stuff that you plan on taking with you for travel / work - get a second adapter / set of cables. Keep those in the bag so you only need to move the device. The cost of your time messing around trying to untangle behind your desk is worth a spare usb lead or several.

Comment: Re:System under glass (Score 1) 372

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41799239) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ideas For a Geek Remodel?

Single mode will be the total guarantee for bandwidth, but the cost of the optics will always be a lot more expensive than multimode. 50 micron OM3 would probably be sufficient for anything you'll ever need, but even then you have to remember that this is a household environment and unless you can guarantee that you'll keep the dust caps on whenever it's not in use the cable will fail.

Fibre has it's place in the datacentre where you can keep a relatively clean environment to handle it, for household bandwidth just run cat6a and co-ax. Who cares if it takes 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds to copy a file from your media server when it takes you 2 hours to actually watch it.

Comment: MediaPC vs Desktop (Score 1) 405

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41364789) Attached to: Are SSDs Finally Worth the Money?

SSDs are now at a price where it's a no-brainer for a media-PC hooked up to a NAS. They're pretty much cheaper than the cheapest normal hard drive you can buy, and far quieter.

For the desktop, the cache drives still make the best sense. Most users don't have the technical ability to be able to force installs of software to secondary drives and keep their boot drive clear of clutter enough to be able to warrant the cost of an SSD.

I went for a cache drive myself about 4 months ago and it's been one of the best purchases I've made for my home system, but for joe public I'd still say a RAM upgrade should come way before anything else if they want things to just work faster.

Comment: US Patents lead to technological backwater (Score 2) 553

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41201549) Attached to: Apple Adds Samsung Galaxy SIII To Its Ban List

I've been following this on Groklaw for a while, and it's obvious yet again how badly the US patent system is broken when Apple can patent a rectangle with rounded corners and succeed in banning devices of the same shape, and yet refuse to licence the basic technology that is needed for the phone to actually behave like a phone and make calls.

In real terms if this judgement stands then the US will end up with technology that lags the rest of the world by whole generations as why should companies like Samsung, HTC, etc etc actually bother releasing their products in the US when Apple will use the courts to ban them?

It's amazing how many of the self proclaimed 'freedoms' and 'ethics' have been quietly swept under the carpet in the name of capitalism and the next quarters profit margin.

Comment: It was always about games and the 'killer apps' (Score 2) 505

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41197141) Attached to: The True Challenges of Desktop Linux

Why did people stick with windows - it wasn't because the tech was better, OS/2 was better tech than windows for years, and then by the time OS/2 was dead we had a linux kernal good enough to be counted as better.

So why did I stick with windows - 2 reasons - Office and Games.

Office was the killer app for owning the desktop - if you can lock your corporate customer in to windows via a good enough set of office tools then you start to own the mindshare - you use a windows machine at work, if you want / need to work at home they buy a windows machine there with the same tools (remember we're talking back in the days of windows 3.11 and '95 - when laptops were pretty much outside the reach of joe public but a desktop was something that was possible if you were perpared to save for it).

As soon as you have a critical mass of PCs running dos / windows in the hands of the public then they are going to want to game on it - and for years the PC was where the games were at - and you can name the killer games - Doom, Quake, Unreal, etc etc. All of them either predated the consoles, or were a quantum leap ahead of what the console could deliver in the way of graphics or the ability to play against real opponents on a network or eventually across the internet. The current generation of consoles are the first to successfully compete and beat the PC in this space, before the PS/3 or Xbox360 if you wanted to play against a real opponent that wasn't sat on the same couch as you then the PC was your only option.

Gaming was always the driver, every upgrade I've paid out my own money for has been because of a game I wanted to play - be it the next GFx card, or having to go to a new version of windows because the new version of DIrectX made things look better and wasn't available on the last version.

Apple did the smart thing - they tied themselves to a niche market with the media creators (photoshop / video editing etc) and so influenced the people writing your TV shows and style magazines - which has paid off for them in the long run by association - the common man sees Apple still as something hip and trendy, and as an aspirational piece of hardware. If I buy an Apple product I'll be as trendy as all the beautiful people in the media.

Either way both companies invested in the user experience - they ended up with products that 'just worked' and were 'good enough'. You didn't feel you had to have a degree to use their products - they were for everyone.

And then you have linux - and I tried linux several times over the years wanting it to succeed on the desktop,and it never did because it was too hard to get it to actually work in the first place, and when you did get it to work it was either missing the business applications to allow it to talk to everyone else in the office, and it was missing the games that made you want to use it at home.

But what frustrates me most is that we still have people talking about when linux will conquer the desktop. The desktop is dead. Wake up and smell the roses. The computer everyone reaches for these days is their phone. It games, it does social media, it surfs the internet, it's always with you and guess what - it's running linux.

Comment: Why not just use your phone? (Score 1) 415

I've been an ebook reader for 10+ years now - ever since I needed to do a lot of travel for work and figured out it was a lot easier to carry a PDA with a few hundred books on it instead of a suitcase with half a dead tree inside. I went through 3 PDAs before I upgraded to my latest phone. If your screensize is 4" or larger then it makes a perfectly adequate ebook reader with the advantage that it's always with you.

I use FBReader on the Desire HD - mainly because it allows the use of the volume rocker for page-up / page-down. I have full control of font sizes and it supports open (epub) formats. Anything else there's an app for if needed. It's perfectly good for novels and works for me.

If I need to look at a technical manual then the chances are I'm on my main computer anyway (or not too far away from it).

Seriously - use your phone to start with. OK it may not be ideal in bright sunlight, but it works for me. Give the BAEN website a try - they have a load of SF / Fantasy novels made available for free by the authors in open formats and it's got me in to some great stuff and I've ended up buying the next books in the series as a result of reading the first from there.

Comment: Re:Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers (Score 1) 91

by SpankyDaMonkey (#41003773) Attached to: Sci-fi Author Harry Harrison Dies at 87

Agreed, it's one of the jewels of my book collection and stands just as well on it's own merits as it does as a parody.

If I remember correctly the stainless steel rat was also serialised in the 2000AD comics and then subsequently published as a collection. Could be worth tracking this down or pushing for a reprint to help introduce a new generation to some classic,influential and seminal works.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.