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Comment: Annoying. (Score 1) 347

This is exactly what Australia is trying to do with the National Broadband Network; Telstra - the incumbent last mile monopoly for cable and copper DSL - will eventually phase out their copper network to be replaced with the the government-funded mostly fibre based Nbnco last mile network.
Of course, the project is political dynamite, the rollout is massively delayed, has run over budget, and the current government is trying to change the fibre to the premises network to fibre to the node, but the intention is to provide common "wholesale" last mile connectivity that any ISP can resell to consumers.

Comment: Re:Typical government efficiency... (Score 4, Insightful) 345

by dan_barrett (#44245145) Attached to: The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

I've maintained legacy payroll software (Oracle RPT, predates PL/SQL) and have been marginally involved in migrating clients to the new shiny payroll system. Generally it fails where the client wants the new system to behave exactly like the old system.

The new system usually can handle the required business rules (or it's not too much work to make this happen) but all the processes around those rules are different. eg the new system needs to generate report RW200 to lineprinter 6, daily at 6PM and must be formatted just so (no one reads the first 1000 pages, but the summary page is critical to some obscure business process.)

So, the new system has to print unformatted ASCII to a serial line printer, in an obscure way, on nonstandard paper, that's hard to replicate in a modern report writer. Never mind the already written, laser printed, on-demand reports (or emailed, or exported to excel or whatever) have the same information - it's NOT THE SAME - our users will be confused so it MUST BE CHANGED!.

Rinse and repeat for basically everything else in your system and you've heavily modified your new system to behave just like your old payroll system (and killed any performance improvements, worked out all the bugs etc again). because it's so heavily modified you're basically on a unique version of the new system that only certain programmers really understand. Ant they're going to retire / leave because the project was so shit to work on.

Add the usual government oversight/waste and you've blown a billion dollars. (that's impressive though, I have to say.)

Comment: Re:we ditched vmware for xenserver 2 years back... (Score 1) 86

by dan_barrett (#44162405) Attached to: XenServer 6.2 Is Now Fully Open Source

Interesting.
We moved from Open-xchange (maildir, cyrus imap) to exchange 2010 a while back mostly for political reasons.
Our email backups have become a nightmare.
We can't backup exchange mailboxes while they're being replicated to our DR site - the exchange server blue-screens BY DESIGN to provent the mailstore from being corrupted. Thanks, Microsoft! After shutting dowen replication we have to backup the entire 200GB database as one blob, every time - this takes at least a couple of hours over the network to our backup server.

The mailbox DAG loses sync fairly regularly, which means you have to dump a replication copy and start again (ie copy the whole thing over the network again.) This kills mailbox performance dramatically.

In comparison we used rsync to replicate our maildir directories to our DR site previously (along with openldap slapd replication) - it worked great. Rsync backup took minutes to complete as it only backs up the changes.individual email deach and recovery from backup is easy, too, just put the emailback int he user's mailbox and re-index the mailbox, compared to recovering the entire mailbox database.

Finally - Postfix appears to crap all over Exchange's MTA in terms of performance and logging/problem resolution. We use postfix in front of our exchange servers and it's regularly waiting for exchange to catch up.

Sure, exchange has lots of end user features but i'm not impressed with the backend storage solution at all.
Give me postfix/IMAP/maildir over Exchange any day.

Comment: Lenovo's after sales service is nonexistent (Score 1) 271

by dan_barrett (#43219267) Attached to: Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse?

I don't know about the rest of the world but last year, Lenovo Australia changed their support arrangements. Previously Lenovo support was excellent - now it's abysmal. We had a small form factor desktop power supply fail. Our "onsite next business day" support contract ended up being to a three week wait for parts, along with the engineer coming onsite before the part had arrived, twice. It was a joke.

We couldn't get a firm answer from Lenovo support - eg "the part is on route" or "we're out of stock" or "it's been ordered" were all provided as excuses at various times. A 3 week wait for "next business day" support is inexcusable. We also have HP and Dell desktops with NBD support. They also occasionally fail. They get replaced the next day.
We're not buying anything from Lenovo again.

Comment: Re:I don't get it. (Score 4, Informative) 391

by dan_barrett (#42024465) Attached to: Windows Phone 8 Users Hit Some Snags

I've got an LG Optimus 7, running Win phone 7 Mango - it reboots daily, especially while in the "messages" (ie, SMS) app.
Then again I've read that's common on the LG Optimus specifically.
I'm using the standard apps, plus Exchange mail integration only.

When it's not rebooting, as a basic phone + email reader, it's not bad. My old Nokia "dumb" phone also worked fine as a basic phone with twice the standby time.

I don't think I'll "upgrade" to Windows 8 phone, though

Comment: Because it's Microsoft (Score 4, Insightful) 396

by dan_barrett (#39885043) Attached to: Microsoft Using Linux To Optimize Skype Traffic

Why is this interesting / amusing ?
Technically using Linux or some other unix as a supernode is fine, probably a better solution than Windows server - but this is Microsoft, the dominant operating system provider; very much the competitor to Linux. they *could* use a competitor's solution but traditionally Microsoft reinvents the wheel rather than do this (see Silverlight, XPS, .NET, Office Open document format, Sync framework for examples)

Choosing Linux rather than their own OS product for this task seems like bad PR especailly after publicly criticising Linux as an insecure, slow, potentially IP-violating OS platform.
You may recall they were "caught" using FreeBSD for hotmail after acquiring that service - and eventually migrated it to Windows.

I'm guessing there will soon be a "WinMin" or Windows server core based platform that hosts this instead of Linux.

Comment: Re:Fix the remote (Score 1) 381

by dan_barrett (#39069335) Attached to: Television Next In Line For Industry-Wide Shakeup?

yep, that's great.
How do you turn the TV on?

Can the plex server do it, or does your TV detect the presence of a video signal and turn itself on automatically?
Can you turn on the TV (and set the AV channel) without picking up the TV remote or a third party remote?

Besides the screen + AV input, and maybe the amp/speakers in the TV, do you use any other TV features? do you use the onboard tuner at all?

That's my point. Make the TV/Amp/media players work together properly first, before duplicating other stuff other devices already do.

Comment: Fix the remote (Score 3, Insightful) 381

by dan_barrett (#39039553) Attached to: Television Next In Line For Industry-Wide Shakeup?

We have a Tivo, Wii and LG Blu-Ray all plugged into a Yamaha AV amp, which is connected to a Metz TV.
As a result i need:
Two remotes to watch TV (tivo for channel and amp volume, and the TV remote to turn it on/change the AV channel)

two or three remotes to watch a DVD -
Blu-ray + Amp remote + TV remote

trying to explain this to my mother-in-law is painful to say the least.

It's 2012 and all these devices still can't talk to each other, unless they're all from the same manufacturer. They all have their own, incompatible remote control technologies.

Please, TV and home entertainment equipment manufacturers, thrash out a common control communications standard and go with it - eg XML/SOAP over bluetooth or zigBee, or even HDMI, so I can control ALL my AV gear from one remote interface. I don't really care if it's a logitech-style remote or an android app; just give us something that works across manufacturers so i can have one remote to control them all.

The computing power is readily available and cheap, the frameworks all exist to do it - just choose a standard and implement it.

1080p 100Hz TV is good enough, I don't need or want craptastic 3D or a smart TV interface i'll never use. Just focus on the user experience. Make it easy for normal humans to use AV gear.

Comment: Can't notice the difference anymore (Score 5, Insightful) 405

by dan_barrett (#38457882) Attached to: Is Overclocking Over?

I think CPU speed is less of an issue these days; eg Core2 onwards processors are generally "fast enough" for most users.
Compare the change in noticeable speed between a 386 and 486, or even Pentium vs Pentium 2 or 3, to today's Core2/Athlon vs Core i5/Phenom.
Most people don't notice the jump in CPU performance on modern processors.

The other traditional bottlenecks are rapidly disappearing too, eg a midrange Directx10 graphics card is good enough to play all but the most demanding games these days, and memory and disk speed and capacity are generally outpacing most people's demand.

People will still overclock for the challenge of it, but I think there's no tangible day-to-day benefit anymore.

As someone above mentioned, the real performance battle has moved to portable devices, eg how much performance can you get from a tablet or phone, given a fixed battery capacity?

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.

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