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Comment: Re:Not dead: just trying to grow up. (Score 1) 453

by axafg00b (#45595179) Attached to: The Desktop Is Dead, Long Live the Desktop!

Being a ditto-head here. My 2010/11 Macbook Pro has 16Gb and the original slow 320Gb drive. As soon as I feel flush enough to spring for a 500Gb SSD, then that will be the last direct physical upgrade to what is a very reliable laptop. All the other items - external storage, larger monitors - are cheap enough to swap and upgrade as needed, but the core CPU will still soldier on.

Again, to echo what has been said here, traditional laptops/desktops are at the pinnacle of their power now and have been since about 2009 or so. Tablets and phones have made consumption easier, which takes that task away from the 'PC' and moves them more to the producer side. While I like my I-devices (there are at least 7 or 8 floating around between me, the wife and the dog) I really don't like creating or editing on them. It is not as easy (yet!) as on the traditional PC.

Comment: Re:Good, someone needs to fix FreeNAS (Score 1) 58

by axafg00b (#44379723) Attached to: FreeBSD Co-founder Jordan Hubbard Leaves Apple To Join iXsystems

I'll ditto CAIMLAS' remarks except that I run FreeNAS on a home-kludge setup - Sunfire x4100 with a no-name $99 external disk array and bundled eSATA card. Setup was clean and quick - the Sun hardware did not burp when I put the non-Sun eSATA card in - and now I am able to use the 3TB array as a networked Time Machine drive as well as a media drive. If FreeNAS can survive my ham-handed efforts, as well as small- to medium-enterprise installations for lower cost and better performance, then I think they are doing something right. Now, if someone wants to work on forked-daapd and bring it up to date with the current version of ITunes, I would be very happy.

Comment: Are they that far behind the curve? (Score 1) 461

by axafg00b (#37742694) Attached to: Amazon Bypassing Publishers By Signing Authors Directly

You know, if her contract was specific to her new book, and she retained the rights to the short stories, then Penguin is indeed the enemy. But, really, hasn't Penguin been reading the papers lately? This Intertube thingy is catching on - you can get direct to user music and videos and shopping. Aren't they a little behind the curve here?

Comment: Nothing new here, move along... (Score 1) 362

by axafg00b (#33242654) Attached to: How Much Smaller Can Chips Go?

Actually, the issue of decreasing linewidths has been a major concern ever since UV lithography came into play. The progress is really amazing. It was a big deal in the late '80s to get under 100nm, now there is consistent production at 32nm. There have been research programs investigating X-Ray lithography and electron-beam lithography, but I don't think any of these have panned out for mass production. Now, another concern is electron leakage from these tinier linewidths. Sure, high-K materials help, but there is still some loss.

Comment: Sadly, a good idea was destroyed.. (Score 1) 428

by axafg00b (#33042416) Attached to: Your Online Education Experience?

I was an online facilitator for UoP from 2001 to 2002. I taught an intro course that went into the SDLC, and had a good time with it. A few of the students were not prepared for the work, but overall there was good participation and good feedback from both students and support faculty. I stopped due to family issues, and when I tried to jump back in a couple of years later, there was no interest in having a former, well rated facilitator on board.

In my last class, I had both a woman who lived in Idaho who was 2-3 hours away from a bricks and mortar school and a Navy seaman stationed in Guam. RIght there is a powerful argument for effective distance learning. Sure, some of us did do the "college experience" and we wouldn't trade what we remember for anything (and trust me, there are some things I really don't remember!). However, schools need to take back the online/distance learning franchise for those people who truly wish to increase their knowledge but cannot make the physical commitment to travel to a set location. Of course, many of these traditional schools like the endowments that help them build the ornate business schools or mall-like student centers because they can use that for advertising and for jacking up tuition.

In any case, someone in Education needs to do this right and not as a ripoff.

Comment: It is no longer your "father's" IT business (Score 2, Informative) 453

by axafg00b (#30681158) Attached to: IT Job Satisfaction Plummets To All-Time Low

A decade ago, I went from a university where I had built the network and helped move the campus into the information age to a business where the entire IT staff was outsourced since the business thought it would help them manage their costs. Couple that with the increase in government oversight and regulation (SOX, HIPAA), and now IT means spending more time writing process documents and less time working on the things that attracted bright people to the business. Ed Yourdon saw this coming in his book "The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer", but the same precepts apply across the board. If your function is thought to be a commodity, then business will find a lower cost provider than you. If (as others have mentioned) your IT functions are not seen as a strategic asset, then IT becomes a commodity automatically - something you have to have like lights, plumbing, power, garbage collection.

Comment: Labs are not the whole answer (Score 1) 164

by axafg00b (#30551230) Attached to: Testing Network Changes When No Test Labs Exist?

Labs, yeah, good times! The biggest problem is keeping the labs both operational and relevant. I just finished cleaning out my company's network lab as the switchgear was not L3-capable, out of production and out of our network, and none of the interfaces were faster than 100Mbps. None of it could be updated to a relevant OS level. It is mentioned earlier that if you are a large enough network, you designate a branch to serve as a guinea pig for planned changes. Also, if you have a branch close down, make sure you reclaim the equipment if it is new enough and use that for your 'lab' until the next refresh. Sadly, using older equipment only works if you never plan to use leading (bleeding?) edge features. However, my colleagues and I have found that using older equipment sometimes masks new and unknown interactions between the new services and older, perceived-stable, protocols.

Plan ahead meticulously - using paper and pen is not a sin as it is often faster than trying to model your system in software. Also, leverage your vendors heavily. They have the latest gear, and hopefully you will have service contracts, and they can assist you in planning out major changes.

Praying when a change goes in is good, too.

Comment: Been there, got the "No Way" t-shirt (Score 1) 735

by axafg00b (#30274012) Attached to: Should You Be Paid For Being On Call?

Back in my early techie years, I was a unionized IT employee at an East Coast university. When pagers started to roll out, our union leadership started to make noise about getting overtime (or added compensation) for carrying said pagers. Long story short, the university system leadership said not only "No" but "H*** No". We didn't strike either.

Fast forward about 23 years and the network group I was in had a rotating on-call pager. For a long time, we would take an extra day off to make up for the fact that we were on-call (answering questions that should never have come to our group). However, that ended with a new manager who said that we couldn't afford to provide these "undocumented" days' off. Our colleagues in a foreign country, however, still receive extra pay for carrying a pager.

Bottom line is, in the US over the last 20-25 years, employers have been squeezing the employees harder and harder even as more jobs go overseas or to low-balling contractors. Unless there is a major sea change in employer-employee relations (and there will not be any time soon), forget about collecting any extras.

Comment: Performance is a driving issue (Score 5, Interesting) 624

by axafg00b (#28807123) Attached to: Stock Market Manipulation By Millisecond Trading

A firm I worked with recently tore down an arbitrage network (they were getting out of the business as it was not core) which comprised of a great deal of Layer 2 dark fiber between sites in NYC and an external data center in NJ, Force 10 fabric switches with multiple paths to server clusters, and a great many Sun X-series servers running Linux. This arbitrage network bypassed the standard corporate (i.e. Cisco-based) network as they wanted exclusivity, higher bandwidth and as much speed as possible. Still, there were issues and the whole environment was scrapped since the actual returns did not match the expectations or cover the costs.

When I looked over the shoulders of the designers (they didn't want too much support from the regular network engineering team) they were concerned with raw performance and not as much with security or other daily operational issues. I would characterize it as the difference between, say, a NASCAR Sprint Cup car and your regular transportation. The former is purpose-built solely for performance while the other has to contend with safety requirements, daily functionality, and a lower common denominator for use.

Comment: Linked In - worth the effort and exposure (Score 1) 474

by axafg00b (#26956255) Attached to: Linked In Or Out?

Besides echoing earlier comments about keeping in touch with colleagues from previous employers, one feature of Linked In I find helpful is with research for jobs and companies. A head hunter pinged me about an interesting-sounding position at a local university. I went to the school's website and did not find it in their listings. I saw that one of my former colleagues was at a similar level at that school, so I queried him about the position. His reply was that there was no such position open - and he confirmed it with the VP supposedly hiring for that job. So, having the Linked In connections provides a great deal of added support to winnow out the garbage from recruitment firms.

Comment: Re:bad (Score 5, Insightful) 401

by axafg00b (#26918691) Attached to: How Do You Document Technical Procedures?

True story - I start my new job as Network Team Lead with one cabling tech and one temporary consultant hired to fill in after the rest of the network team resigned. My documentation? Six large moving boxes full of c**p from the previous two leads and their managers. No online docu, no drawings, and a whole lot of head-scratching. This lead to us scrapping a major disaster recovery test because it was based on a network that had been dismantled two years prior, and no one had bothered to maintain the documentation. Yes, the company was in bad shape, but it was improving. By the time I left four years later (after a merger with a larger firm who did not require my services) we knew down to the specific patch cable where things were, and what processes we needed for hardware/software configuration.

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