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Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 2) 685

by brianwski (#47400561) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes
You are absolutely correct for DIRECT NON-STOP flights. But many or most international flights have connections and layovers. I live on the west coast, usually I fly to New York or Chicago and catch my connection overseas there - often with a dead laptop battery.

Luckily more and more it is possible to find recharging plugs in airports. But if the TSA weren't being complete jerks, they would provide a completely (USA) standard 110 V power plug on an extension cord right at security. I don't know anybody who flies internationally without their device chargers. But this is the same TSA that refuses to sell you $1 stamped envelopes to put your pocket knife into so you can US mail it to yourself. Or simply "hold" your pocket knife for 48 hours since you will be back in this exact same airport when you return tomorrow. Nope, it is really, REALLY important to run TSA badly and punish innocent people - so they will NOT be providing an electrical plug to allow you to save your $700 phone or $1,500 laptop.

Comment: Re:simple (Score 1) 113

by brianwski (#47272849) Attached to: US Wants To Build 'Internet of Postal Things'
Several people have brought up the cost and barrier to entry of email. Email service is essentially free (gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail) and free WiFi is not that hard to come by. Maybe I'm jaded living in Silicon Valley but all of Mountain View has free WiFi, most libraries and coffee shops provide it, etc. I suppose the main cost is renting $2 worth of computer time at a Kinkos if you are homeless and want to send an email.

But I'm definitely a believer in social safety nets. Currently, I believe there is a tax on every land line phone that goes to supplying "universal lifeline access" to poor people. I would personally vote for a system that as of age 18, every man or woman who was at or below poverty level would be provided a low end SmartPhone for free every 3 years and a basic data plan enough to send and receive email. Coupled with decommissioning 9/10ths of the US post office it probably would save money.

Comment: Re:simple (Score 1) 113

by brianwski (#47266791) Attached to: US Wants To Build 'Internet of Postal Things'
I agree quick communication is the mark of an advanced society, but refusing to upgrade when better options are available is the mark of a doomed society.

When daily physical mail was first invented, it was great. But now that we have cell phones, email, faxes, SMS messages, Slashdot discussions, surely you can see daily physical mail is now SLOWER and less advanced for most messages.

When the first person put a horse shoe on a horse it was an advancement. But when we have cars, subways, trains, etc you have to finally admit horse shoes WERE a good idea, but now you should be using rubber tires on cars.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 334

by brianwski (#46504865) Attached to: Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"
Any one computer doesn't have to survive longer than a human lifespan if you can transfer files between computers and backup. I have taken many digital pictures in my life, they have been taken with ever increasing quality and the sum total of all pictures has been stored on ever larger and faster laptops. I can afford a new laptop every 2 years, so laptop failures have all been really expected and yet still totally Ok.

Comment: Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 52

by brianwski (#46229521) Attached to: Open Source — the Last Patent Defense?
> companies which obtained software patents, a direct attack
> on the freedom of programmers everywhere

Obtaining patents is not a direct attack, initiating a lawsuit using patents is the aggression step.

At every large company I worked at (Apple, HP, SGI) they told us to help patent "stuff" as a defensive measure. I don't see anything wrong with accepting we live in an imperfect world where somebody very evil might threaten us and try to shut us down for evil reasons. So you build big tall walls and stock supplies and gunpowder hoping to never use them.

Patent TROLLS are the aggressors, do you blame these companies for planning ahead and preparing to defend themselves from bullies?

Comment: Re:Ignorant to their own research (Score 1) 444

by brianwski (#46039377) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?
Here is a slightly longer list of companies that have sold us (Backblaze) hard drive recently:

B&H Video
CTI-Computech International
Central Computers
NVS Systems
Upgrade Express (might have changed their name?)

We have "farmed" from Costo, Best Buy, and Amazon within the last 6 months. This is where individuals buy "sales item" hard drives. So if you watch for sales, you are are probably getting as good as a price as Backblaze gets.

Comment: Re:And what about... (Score 4, Insightful) 444

by brianwski (#46031403) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

Write-mostly workloads to a bunch of consumer grade disks will have errors that you may never detect.

At Backblaze, we try to pass over the data about once every two weeks. We re-read it from disk, recalculate a SHA1 checksum to make sure there wasn't any bits flipped or lost. It is my (informed) opinion that *ALL* hard drives and *ALL* configurations will have errors you may never detect unless you do this. You can't ever trust any file system.

I think many people assume RAID does this checksumming, as far as I know RAID handles entire drives failing, but it doesn't really have anything to do with a drive that has begun to fail and is starting to flip a few bits here and there but the drive is still mostly responsive.

Comment: Re:Amazing how times change. (Score 5, Insightful) 444

by brianwski (#46030985) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?
Personally, I'd really recommend RAID6 with at least 2 parity drives. But always remember, RAID is *NOT* backup. RAID doesn't protect against user stupidity like backup does. RAID does not protect against theft. You don't have to use Backblaze for backups, but for goodness sake USE SOMETHING.

Comment: Re:Ignorant to their own research (Score 5, Informative) 444

by brianwski (#46030669) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

After all this research, Backblaze still pick the highest failing drive.

Disclaimer: I work at Backblaze. Every month we ask a list of about 20 suppliers for their best price on a variety of drives. There is a little spreadsheet we have that kicks out which drive to purchase based on those prices and drive failure rates. Even if Hitachi is the very highest reliability in our application, it only justifies a SMALL price premium because when one drive dies, we don't lose any customer data. It saves our datacenter IT team 15 minutes to *NOT* swap a drive, so that's worth 15 minutes of salary to us, but not more.

Comment: Re:And what about... (Score 5, Informative) 444

by brianwski (#46030537) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?
Disclaimer: I work at Backblaze. I object to the marketing term "Enterprise grade", it is confusing, and I'm not even sure they have the attributes you think they have. There is a completely different blog post Backblaze did about "Enterprise vs Consumer Drives" which comes to the conclusion Enterprise isn't better:

+ - Who makes the best disk drives?-> 1

Submitted by Hamsterdan
Hamsterdan (815291) writes "Backblaze, which open sourced their Storage Pod a few years ago, is now giving drive failure rates. They currently have over 27,000 consumer grade drives spinning in Backblaze storage pods.

Almost 13,000 each are Seagate and Hitachi drives, almost 3000 Western Digital drives and a too small for statistical reporting smattering of Toshiba and Samsung drives.

One cool thing: Backblaze buys drives the way you and I do: they get the cheapest drives that will work. Their workload is almost hundred percent write. Because they spread the incoming writes over several drives their workload isn't very performance intensive either."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Freakin' Riders. (Score 1) 767

by brianwski (#45960961) Attached to: Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve
> CFLs that die faster than incandescents

I know of one use case that tripped me up. It turns out CFLs cannot handle being outside in the cold, I killed several in an outside porch light, some failed within a month. It drove me nuts until I figured it out.

I've used many CFLs in the past, some are still here in my living room, so I'm not biased. Recently I'm a much bigger fan of LEDs, which kick ass outside, LEDs last longer in hash climates than incandescents by a long shot. Can't we all agree we need to ban CFLs and skip directly to LEDs and be done with it?

Comment: Re: Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 5, Insightful) 539

I'm not for or against Obamacare, as a software engineer it simply does not affect me. (I kept my same health insurance I've always had.)

> there has been no law that forced citizens to sign up for.... Jail time

Nonsense. Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security/FICA/Unemployment Insurance - all these are itemized on my pay stub. Again, I am not for or against Obamacare, but there are lots of other government programs I am forced to participate in.

Comment: Re:call them (Score 2) 171

I don't know why you were modded down. I believe most banking is legally required to retain every customer transaction for 7 years. What does it exactly mean to "delete your Wells Fargo Online Account" when they are legally required to maintain your records?

If at any point your relationship involves a financial transaction, that company might have a valid interest in holding onto the receipts through at least the next year's taxes, and may have a responsibility to hold the records for longer.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"