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Comment: I crashed a Marriott's network with 150 iPads (Score 3, Informative) 285

by Whatchamacallit (#47503569) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

I deployed 150 iPads to a group at a business conference at a large Marriott hotel. We crashed the entire hotel network about 5 times. Right before we ran a video conference out of the country, we had to disable the wireless access points to make sure it didn't crash again during the video conference. They do suck bandwidth. I believe many were running Netflix and YouTube and goofing off during the meetings sucking up tremendous bandwidth. They were supposed to be running WebEx which was plenty heavy on the bandwidth. I can imagine the school is sharing bandwidth with other schools and they didn't consider how much bandwidth they needed. We knew we were going to pound the hotels network but they were unwilling for us to have Verizon install a network for our use. We had to use the hotel network which was outsourced to a rink dink vendor.

Comment: Debit cards can be used like a credit card (Score 1) 213

by Whatchamacallit (#45811557) Attached to: Encrypted PIN Data Taken In Target Breach

Most debit cards have a Visa/MC logo and can be used without a pin. In many cases this can avoid a debit card processing fee (most retailers did away with the fee). Making a purchase only requires a signature and gas stations require a zip code and likely a $100 limit. Small purchases at fast food don't require a signature nor pin. The pin is only used at an ATM for cash withdrawal or debit mode at a swipe/keypad terminal.

Comment: Bull$hit... (Score 2) 307

Mind blowing, industry disruptive invention is not going to stop. It's just that it doesn't happen rapidly and never has! Apple first built iPad prototypes internally and decided to take the technology to the iPhone and release it first. So in 2007 before the iPhone was announced there was an early iPad prototype. The iPad didn't get announced until 2010! So for three more years the iPad was refined and improved, while the iPhone was also improved. Only when Apple was satisfied enough with the iPad was it released to the public. The App Store wasn't announced until 2008. The MacPro hasn't changed much since 2010, but the new cylindrical MacPro was announced via sneak peak at WWDC 2013. I would bet money it's been in design for years! A new design starts after the last one shipped. There may be a bit of a break after a stressful launch but they always go right back to the drawing board when they return. One of the reasons the 2010 MacPro wasn't updated were Xeon delays at Intel. The Xeon E5 Ivy Bridge / E3 Haswell design hasn't really started shipping till now. The E5 Xeon is the processor of choice used in workstations and smaller servers. So the new MacPro cylindrical design will have dual E5 Xeon's with up to 12 cores (6 cores each).

Apple's pace hasn't changed, they have always been about releasing when it's ready and not before. The media forgets how long it took for these products to ship. I guess there was this long period of customer awe in between that's dissipated lately as new products are not as stunning. That doesn't mean there are not things in the R&D pipeline that will change the world! There has always been an attention to detail with Apple designs that exceed that of the rest of the industry. The secrecy is what drives articles like this. But it's also what allows Apple to compete. If they announce products early, the competition will have a "Me Too" product ready. Even though a "Me Too" doesn't come close, it will be cheaper and not as good but will still sell fairly well.

Apple is working on changing television as we know it. I have already built a home solution that far exceeds what the industry has available. However, it's extremely geeky and not ready for general consumer use. But I can watch the TV shows and movies I want, how I want, when I want, and where I want. I have complete freedom to beam it around the house from iPhone, iPad, and multiple TV's. I have a server that manages the content like a TiVo would but much much better. It's the media delivery mechanism and the content itself that has to adapt. Apple is no doubt struggling to get the media companies to play ball. Movies studios, TV networks, Sports distribution channels, etc. They all have to radically change the way they do business. It's not about Prime Time any more. I don't consume media on a schedule any more. I rarely watch live TV. I don't see commercials. I can pause a show in the living room and resume it in the bedroom or on an iPad (No, it's not AT&T Uverse either and it's not streamed from a data center). I can even have new shows transcoded and sync'd to the iPad so when I take a long train commute, I can watch my show on an iPad offline. Apple's competitors know they are working on TV and they are trying to produce new TV's that innovate. Samsung has voice and motion controls, Sony has PS4, Microsoft XBox One, etc. They all think they know what Apple is doing but I would bet they aren't even close. Apple cannot announce their new TV solution until they can get the content providers in line. They did it first with the music industry and they did it with the book industry now it's time to do it with the TV/Movie/Video industries.

Google is not a tech company, they are an advertising company that uses technology. Facebook is not a tech company, they are a social media advertising company that uses cheesy technology. Apple is not a technology company either but a design company that mixes technology and the liberal arts. HP, Samsung, etc., etc. these are electronics manufacturers who design and release technology to support operating systems written by others. So far, Apple is completely unique in the universe. They produce the OS, the hardware and use artistic design to tie it all together. They have taste and style. They actually make you smile and your face lights up when you use their products. It is exactly as they said in their latest advertisements, that is what they do and why they do it. It's all about the experience. In OS X you don't run into those weird situations like you do in Windows, etc. You don't have these thousand little annoyances that make you paranoid so you don't trust the computer. I haven't enjoyed computing so much since I switched to Mac. The last time I had this type of trust in the computer and operating system, it was the old Atari computers. I also don't have to tinker with the technology like I do with Unix/Linux systems. ( I do like to tinker but now I don't need to do it with my day to day regular computer ) The little annoyances can be explained when you take the old Apple dock connector and all the frustration experienced every time you plugged it in. You had to ensure the orientation was right as it only plugged in one way and once the silk screened icon wore off you couldn't tell if it was right side up or down. The lightning connector changes that, no more thinking just plug it in and it works every time. Granted, they didn't do that initially but they improved upon what had gone before. Developers love using Mac laptops because it's Unix under the hood. Everything that runs in Unix/Linux/BSD all works on the Mac plus they can interface with Windows, use MS Office (if they have to) and Adobe software, etc. USENIX is almost all Apple MacBook's nowadays where it was PC's running Linux, Solaris, etc. previously. That's because the Apple experience is so very good. These Unix Guru's use Apple MacBooks because it's the best darn Unix laptop you can get. All the work they do at the server level is not Apple at all, but a myriad of Unix technology.

Apple really is changing the world and for the better. No they are not perfect, no one is perfect but they do strive for a level of excellence that is very noticeable. All this talk about the new MacPro and expandability is BS. The Thunderbolt 2 and Ethernet provides the same speeds of internal SATA III to external drive chassis. There is no need to open the box and plug drives in any more. You can get very good NAS devices and in a professional environment, they have that. An animation studio, movie studio, etc. They don't need internal storage based on spinning rust. They can just copy a project to the internal PCIe Flash SSD and work on it then archive it back to the external storage. That storage could be a local Thunderbolt disk array, or a NAS/SAN. Will Apple produce a 4K Apple Display? I don't know, maybe. But the demo basically said you could drive 3 third party 4K displays. Pricing those 4K displays and about the cheapest is $3,700+ each! So Apple's out of the storage business, like they are out of the server business and maybe out of the external display business too. Internal displays (Retina) will remain. Honestly, they didn't sell that many Cinema / Thunderbolt displays. People have plenty of choice in the display market from affordable up-to ultra high end. Most of the pro's are not buying the Apple displays anyway.

Comment: More Common Than You Think... (Score 4, Interesting) 172

by Whatchamacallit (#43994293) Attached to: SSDs: The New King of the Data Center?

SSD's might not be used as primary storage, yet. The cost of using a lot of SSD's in a SAN is still too high. However, that doesn't mean that SSD technology is not being used. Many systems started using SSD's as Read/Write caches or highspeed buffers, etc. The PCIe SSD cards are popular in highend servers. This is one way that Oracle manages to blow away the competition when benchmarks are compared. They put a PCIe SSD cards into their servers and use them to run their enterprise database at lightning speeds! ZFS can use SSD's as Read/Write caches although you had better battery backup the Write cache!.

Depending on a particular solution, a limited number of SSD's in a smaller NAS/iSCSI RAID setup can make sense for something that needs some extra OOMF! But I don't yet see large scale replacement of traditional spinning rust drives with SSD's yet. In many cases, SSD's only make sense for highly active arrays where reads and writes are very heavy. Lots of storage sits idle and isn't being pounded that hard.

Comment: Working for one of those WinXP corporations... (Score 1) 438

by Whatchamacallit (#43978601) Attached to: XP's End Will Do More For PC Sales Than Win 8, Says HP Exec

If it ain't broke don't fix it, is a mantra spoken by many IT organizations in large companies. The complexities of migrating WinXP to Win7 are enormous. There are a ton of legacy applications that won't work on 64bit Win7 so 32bit will be used for the majority of users. This even though all the computers are coming with 8GB's of RAM. IT became complacent with WinXP because there was no good reason to change it. In fact, the only reason we are upgrading to Win7 is because we have to as Microsoft is killing support and security updates. We are not even considering Win8 because it's just as bad as Vista and we don't want to have to retrain tens of thousands of users in a schizophrenic user interface (half tablet / half traditional GUI). Office 2010 was bad enough. i.e. not much in the way of real world improvements, just move all the menus and buttons around to confuse experienced end users and give it a face lift. We had to deploy Microsoft's transition Silverlight quick reference tools (formerly Flash for Office 2007) that helped users find where their buttons and menu options moved! In fact, we'd probably be happy if we didn't change from Office XP! We have legacy applications and platforms that are 20 years old, some without source code and whose creators long ago went out of business.

Take a look at what your local Department of Motor Vehicles uses for their computer system and I wouldn't be surprised if it's still dumb terminals running on an AS400 mini computer! Oh sure it might be a Windows variant with an AS400 terminal emulator so they can have MS Office and Outlook for email but the main systems are ancient. Thankfully, most enterprises are not THAT backwards but they certainly have a lot of old systems.

Finally, we are rolling out enterprise Ultrabook laptops with SSD's to the executives running Win7. The only reason for this is happening is because they are demanding the new shiny. They wanted MacBook Air's but virtually no one knows Mac OS X or those in power refuse to deal with it. Still have bad feelings about iPads I suppose (i.e. being forced to deal with them against their will). These are Ultrabooks which would never have existed were it not for Apple raising the bar. All Ultrabooks are copies of MacBook Pro or MacBook Air designs. Big touch pads, beautiful screens, light up keyboards and super fast yet lightweight. I just wish the OS was better. Holding out hope for Windows Blue...

Comment: Dangerous Games (Score 3, Interesting) 142

by Whatchamacallit (#43769069) Attached to: Yahoo Board Approves a $1.1B Pricetag For Tumblr

Tumblr is worth exactly squat if Yahoo screws with it too much. A social platform is only as good as it's users. If the users abandon the platform in protest to Yahoo's new direction it will spell the doom of Yahoo! Instagram's transition was initially painful and they lost a good deal of users. Yahoo has to be very careful, best to keep things the same for a long time and then slowly introduce improvements that will excite and encourage the customer base and not annoy them. A major misstep and it can all come crashing down very quickly... Social media is a high stakes game. To pay that much for Tumblr is an extreme gamble.

Comment: Re:Posting anonymous since there was a NDA (Score 1) 151

by Whatchamacallit (#43554879) Attached to: Pearson Vue Now On Day 5 of Massive Outage

That would be your own fault or the fault of your employer! It is absolutely imperative to have a legal contract. Any software firm or even independent developer or web designer needs to have their own lawyer and accountant. Otherwise you get screwed. To do business with large corporations, it should be required. You should always do the following:

1. If they try to get you to sign a blanket contract have your own lawyer review it.
2. If you join a conference call and find they have a lawyer on the call, then you cancel the meeting and reschedule when you have your own lawyer on the call.
3. The contract your lawyer and their lawyers review and sign should protect both parties.If the blanket contract is insufficient then your lawyer drafts a new contract and reviews until both parties agree.


This way it becomes entirely a situation of F_U Pay Me! Oh the entire department was shutdown and the software contracted is no longer needed? Too bad, F_U Pay Me!

Comment: Xerox PARC & Today's Post PC World (Score 1) 387

by Whatchamacallit (#43340621) Attached to: Alan Kay Says iPad Betrays Xerox PARC Vision

As much as Alan Kay is a super Geek and co-father of todays technology the following must be stated very very clearly.

Apple bought all the rights to the Xerox PARC technology which they incorporated into the Lisa and then the Macintosh. But they were not following the Xerox PARC vision and immediately veered off in Apple's own direction since day one.

The iPad was never meant to fulfill Alan Kaye's vision of the Dynabook. It was Apple's vision of a tablet computer and always has been. There is zero betrayal. The premise is flawed.

Comment: A Little Bit of Adobe Verifiable History (Score 1) 209

Adobe didn't write Flash, they acquired Macromedia in 2005 who originally wrote Flash. The original intent of Flash was to provide an animation platform. It was during the video player codec wars where you needed to have RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player and many more as every other website used a different format to play the video files. Flash added the ability to be a video player and started to be used by many sites to playback video as most users had Flash installed. At some point YouTube came on the scene and that sealed the deal, everyone switched in fast order to using Flash rather than to make users download different players and upgrade them. So this effectively ended the codec player wars. Then Adobe added DRM technology to Flash to encrypt and protect video streams.

Flash is horribly, horribly broken! From 6/2001 -> 3/12/2013 there have been 96 security patches released to fix vulnerabilities that could allow a PC/Mac/Linux computer to be compromised!

Flash is very inefficient and buggy, hence the serious flaws in it's design that are the root cause for all the exploits. It has got to be truly awful code under the hood! Flash never ran well on Mac's and once it was ported to Mac OS X (carbon) that didn't improve much. Flash had been identified by Apple as causing Mac's to crash and run poorly. The iPhone and iPad run iOS which is really Mac OS X recompiled to run on ARM instead of PowerPC/Intel. iOS is stripped down but it's still the base Unix system that came from NeXT. Not only would Flash kill the batteries of mobile devices, it would introduce extremely dangerous vulnerabilities to a very secure system.

What is amazing is during the battle between Apple and Adobe, Flash was supposed to ship on other non-Apple mobile platforms. Well lately, Adobe has completely killed Flash for all mobile platforms! Apparently, the facts caught up to the hype.

Today, Apple doesn't ship Flash nor Java for that matter on new Mac's as both are security risks. Oracle's had it's share of Java security issues lately as well. Apple literally blocks Flash and Java in Safari by remotely updating Mac's outside of the Software Update utility using their proprietary anti-malware system. Say a new vulnerability on Flash or Java is discovered, Apple quickly sends an anti-malware update to all online Mac's which then proceed to disable the plugins for Safari until the version is newer and that version hasn't even been released yet by Oracle nor Adobe. This has happened repeatedly over the last year.

As to Kevin Lynch, he was acting as a spokesman for Adobe and was following the companies party line. Yep, he was very much like Bagdad Bob! Spewing out company propaganda. Executives, come and go all the time. Mark Hurd was terminated from HP but ended up at Oracle.

Comment: Re:Mac mini or apple Tv (Score 1) 355

by Whatchamacallit (#38493428) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Kit For a Home Media Server? - Plex can run as a media server on your Mac Mini, can serve other Mac's with media. Can also serve to iPads and you can serve to an iPhone or use it as a remote control. It handles MKV and just about all other formats. It's like Boxee in some ways but much much better. It also works with AppleTV's although you might need to jailbreak them if you won't want to use AirPlay. But since you are using AirPlay now, it's no different with Plex. Once Jailbroken, the AppleTV2's have a Plex menu added to browse the media server library and make choices. There's a lot more to it. Plex is free except for the iOS / Android apps.

Comment: Re:The plane's nick name (Score 1) 612

by Whatchamacallit (#38311230) Attached to: Iranian TV Shows Downed US Drone

Yeah and Ma Bell was fooled by a plastic whistle found in a box of Captain Crunch breakfast cereal! It just happened to be the right frequency to override functions so you could make free phone calls. Woz learned the frequencies the whistle used and built those electronic blue boxes to make free phone calls. There are always ways to penetrate the best security sometimes bypassing it completely in some unique unheard of way. Heck 19 hijackers managed to penetrate a system of security meant to stop guns from boarding planes and they hijacked the plane using only box cutters! People assumed if they cooperated they would just be redirected to another airport and be held hostage. Instead the plane was flown into the WTC Towers in NYC and actually downing the towers themselves. No one, not even the terrorists, thought that would happen either!

It is foolish to underestimate the enemy. Do that at your own peril and find an Iranian nuke launched off a ship into heart of NYC or Washington DC.

Comment: Things that make you Hmmm... (Score 1) 612

by Whatchamacallit (#38311174) Attached to: Iranian TV Shows Downed US Drone

1) Is it real or is it an elaborate fake model based on the real one that crashed?
2) If it's real then it doesn't look like it was shot down or that it crashed.
3) If it wasn't shot down and it didn't crash, then somehow it either landed itself or someone hijacked it with a cyber attack and landed it.
4) If it is a fake, then it's all Iranian propaganda, notice the posters blasting America. Even if it is real, it's one heck of a propaganda tool.

Previously we heard that early drone models had their video streams hacked as captured terrorist laptops contained video files intercepted from drones. Apparently, they weren't encrypting the transmissions or if they were it was breakable encryption. This leads me to believe that the security measures may be extremely weak in this state of the art spy drone. Spared no expense on data collection and transmission and avionics but then didn't take enough measures to encrypt and secure command and control interfaces. What if that RSA penetration had something to do with it? You think the military is foolish enough to use an RSA encryption protocol that might have had it's encryption keys stolen?

If this is the Boeing drone then I read it was designed to land on an aircraft carrier and do so in an automated fashion. Perhaps it has a directive to try to land if it can and all this is a malfunction of the self-destruct logic.

It is interesting that the landing gear is obscured by camouflage netting and the signs were hung in front so you can't see the landing gear. Perhaps it tried to land or it entered a slow level glide decent when it malfunctioned and just slid to a stop in the desert. Maybe did a belly landing and the Iranians had to stand it up on crates because the landing gear doors are damaged.

We'll likely never know the real story of what happened. Maybe a big cargo plane with a huge net snatched out of the sky. Heck, we use to snag parachuted film cartridges dropped from early spy satellites so anything is possible.

If it was hacked perhaps it was an advanced crew of international black hatters who decide to take the Iranians money and deliver the drone to their front steps.

Comment: Exchange & iPads (Score 1) 205

by Whatchamacallit (#38283466) Attached to: Apple, Android Devices Swamp NYC Schools' ActiveSync Server

They were likely at or near capacity on their existing Exchange / ActiveSync Server when someone else outside of the Exchange group made the decision to get a bunch of iPads. I work with almost a thousand iPads and yes, you need to plan for capacity on the Exchange server. That being said, you had better also plan on WiFi capacity because iPads are bandwidth hogs (not really). They are so very useful that the users actually use them and in doing so pound your network quite a bit more than even laptop users.

I worked a large remote hotel gig where we deployed 200 iPads and it literally killed the hotels network about 6 times over 2 days! We had to shutoff the WiFi service in the convention rooms during a video conference for fear the iPads would crash the network again. We offered to bring our own WiFi network and work with Verizon to do it (big bucks on our part) but the hotels outsourced IT company refused to let us bring our own network. So we used what they provided and pretty much frequently killed network service for all other hotel guests during our stay. The iPads overwhelmed their wimpy routers. The hotel network was designed for guests to check email and web surf a little. It didn't like 200 iPads running Cisco WebEx. I doubt they used advanced networking with bandwidth shaping, etc.

Comment: Solved the TV Problem Already (Score 2) 839

by Whatchamacallit (#38274212) Attached to: TV Isn't Broken, So Why Fix It?

What's broken?!?! Not enough quality content, too many commercials, not playing when I am ready to watch, hardware nightmare of too many remotes and input modes (TV, Cablebox, DVR, DVD/Bluray, Stereo, game console, Rovio, etc.). HDMI blocking digital content with DRM methods. DVR recording (former TiVo owner) doesn't cut it. I cancelled my cable TV last year and haven't looked back.

Solved the TV problem already. Oh, I don't actually watch Live TV any more. I watch TV Shows and Movies minus commercials, advertisements, trailers you can't skip through, etc. I don't watch the news, I don't watch sports, I don't watch reruns, unless I really want to. I can get everything I care about online within an hour of broadcast, dumped to a small household SAN. I just input what I want to capture and automated systems retrieve it for me. The content is out there floating around the Interwebs free for the taking. I stream locally over my own private network to the multitude of televisions and iPads in my home. I use my iPhone as a remote control for the TV's. I can pause a show in one room and resume it in another. I can also stream web shows like Revision3, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Pipe my music through the same system and family photos / videos on the TV. I can capture funny web clips using a browser and view them on the TV later. I have one remote control per room. It's so dang easy to use, my wife understands it! I even have her shows available.

You're a bunch of Geeks, figure it out. The tools are all there for the taking, I just happened to find the right combination of existing systems that work well together. It is like one big happy Unix command prompt, piping content metadata from one system to another. But like Fight Club you don't talk about this...

I would gladly pay for an on demand subscription based system where I specifically choose the shows I want. I would even consider watching advertisements. But I want the freedom to watch what I want when I want. I want to start up a show mid-season two or three and get all the back episodes without having to wait months or years for the show to hit DVD. But that is not what I am offered. I have to choose a package that gets ridiculously expensive and includes boat loads of channels and content I do not want. Then shows get blacked out for political station to station infighting, etc. The networks stream shows but it sucks with the ads and the Flash interface is crap. You can't pickup where you left off. You can't send the content to a TV. Another issue is they don't offer all the back episodes only a handful of episodes. So how am I to find out about a show late and get caught up? The Season DVD's won't ship until the season ends.

I believe that Apple is the only one to solve this problem. They haven't done it with iTunes TV shows yet, still too expensive. It's like buying season box sets at a slight discount. I don't need to "own" the shows, but I do want to stream them whenever I want. I think iCloud is going to make that happen. I would plunk down the dough if Apple produced a full solution. I am already using several Apple systems in my architecture of the ultimate Internet DVR. I want to go legit, but because of my skills and knowledge I found the solution, it's just not for everyone. It's highly automated and works 99% of the time. I come home and I've got new stuff to watch. It was not easy to setup and get it all working but once I did, it's like an appliance. Apple could deliver a similar mechanism and rescue the dying TV business in the process. The one area this breaks down is live sports games of which I am not a fan. But it's a very important category to millions of fans. MLB/NHL functionality on AppleTV2 is darn close. But it's still restricted to blackouts, etc. Why not deliver the ultimate viewing experience. Watch the game and switch from stupid over the air commentary to technical feeds on a side bar. Run your own instant replays and camera angles, etc. It could be so very awesome! Build in Social Media support so fans an cheer together even though they are thousands of miles away. Or tease their buddy about the buddy's losing team, etc.

Time for a media revolution. Time for the studios, cable companies, sports franchises to get their heads out of their a$$'s and solve the freaking problem. Their revenue would skyrocket. Why only get paid via commercial advertising when you air an episode or play a game? Why not get paid by viewers and advertisers whenever the episode is viewed by anyone! They could triple their profits if they do it right and keep it cheaper than the old school way. It feels like those two guys from the Muppet Show are running all video media and they are too blind to see the changes coming. Kids are not watching TV, they are surfing the Internet and playing games.



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