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Comment: Re:Not in visable uses... (Score 1) 80

by mcrbids (#47578853) Attached to: HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port

The most bad-ass server I've ever had the pleasure of working with was a Digital VAX 11/750 generations ago. It was *built* to be reliable from the very first rivet.

Oh sure, my pocket phone has far more power, memory, and storage. Despite the ample square footage of my "McMansion" house, It would not have fit in my kitchen. It ate power like global warming really was a myth. But as a server, it was in its own class.

It would automatically detect memory that was failing and rebuild from memory (like ECC) but then would remap that address so it would no longer be used.

You could upgrade its CPUs one at a time without shutting it down.

It was like a hoover with data, versioning files was intrinsic to how the O/S worked.

One time, the A/C in the computer room went out. It mapped *everything* in RAM to disk as the temperature rose and the chips became unreliable. We literally pulled the plug on it because it was completely unresponsive, as all operations were working directly off HDD. When the A/C was fixed and it was powered up late that night, it spooled all of RAM out of the HDD swap, and everybody's workstation resumed exactly where they had left off that afternoon - we couldn't find any data loss at all.

I will forever bow in deference to the greatest server I have ever had the pleasure of working on. How HP managed to acquire such a legacy and turn its back... part of me cries inside.

Comment: Re:Fire(wall) and forget (Score 1) 338

Put the firewall up FIRST, and open essential ports as necessary. This is network security 101.


I think the question is whether or not you trust iptables to be the firewall, or whether or not you have a dedicated device as a firewall.

  Sadly, as a security device, dedicated firewalls are their own can of worms. For example, firmware updates for dedicated firewall devices are often much less frequently issued, and the update process is typically far more painful than you'd see as a mindful admin for a Linux box. Many "dedicated firewall" devices are little more than Linux + iptables + proprietary interface anway, meaning you aren't protected at all if there's a common kernel flaw found. Lastly, being heavily stripped down, you have no way to audit them to see if they *are* compromised, because half your toolchain is missing even if you do have shell access, even though, as a full-fledged, turing complete computing device, they are quite useful to a black hat.

All that said, I do frequently use dedicated firewalls, but also use locked down Linux servers interchangeably. Given the 10+ years of excellent security track record I've maintained going this route, I'm pretty confident this doesn't mean I'm incompetent, as would seem to be the opinion around here.

I am a bit paranoid about security, disabling password access anywhere possible, relying on default-deny firewalls, using port-knocking & non-standard ports for SSH, not using non-ssl connections for *anything* administrative, VPNs required for access to insecure services like IPMI, etc.

Comment: Re:The advertising is okay (Score 1) 250

We paid Comcast to bring broadband to us in the first place. That they haven't done it yet means we'd only have to pay twice to get it if we went the municipal route, whereas we won't get it at all from Comcast.

Even if we did "get" the broadband, they've shown perfect willingness to simply refuse to upgrade their networks to allow bandwidth to flow from Internet companies they don't like. (*cough*Netflix*/cough*)

+ - Netflix pay us. Verizon keeps throttling.

Submitted by Chas
Chas (5144) writes "Even though Netflix caved to Verizon's demands and is now paying protection money to them to ensure better service, Netflix performance still has not improved on the Verizon network.

This is the problem with giving in to extortion like this. Sure, Comcast at least made a token effort to improve performance for end-users. Verizon just treated it as a payday, and maintained status quo, continuing to blame Netflix."

+ - Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The ongoing battle between Netflix and ISPs that can't seem to handle the streaming video service's traffic boiled over to an infuriating level for Colin Nederkoon, a startup CEO who resides in New York City. Rather than accept excuses and finger pointing from either side, Nederkoon did a little investigating into why he was receiving such slow Netflix streams on his Verizon FiOS connection, and what he discovered is that there appears to be a clear culprit. Nederkoon pays for Internet service that promises 75Mbps downstream and 35Mbps upstream through his FiOS connection. However, his Netflix video streams were limping along at just 375kbps (0.375mbps), equivalent to 0.5 percent of the speed he's paying for. On a hunch, he decided to connect to a VPN service, which in theory should actually make things slower since it's adding extra hops. Speeds didn't get slower, they got much faster. After connecting to VyprVPN, his Netflix connection suddenly jumped to 3000kbps, the fastest the streaming service allows and around 10 times faster than when connecting directly with Verizon. Verizon may have a different explanation as to why Nederkoon's Netflix streams suddenly sped up, but in the meantime, it would appear that throttling shenanigans are taking place. It seems that by using a VPN, Verizon simply doesn't know which packets to throttle, hence the gross disparity in speed."
Link to Original Source

Comment: The death of trains (Score 4, Interesting) 195

by mcrbids (#47472769) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

In Europe, they discovered that train wrecks were really, really bad. So they set about building a system of trains that didn't wreck, with numerous controls and systems to prevent collisions, resulting in an excellent safety record and low cost.

In the United States, they discovered that train wrecks were really, really bad. So they set about building a system of trains that survived wrecks with minimal injuries, with heavy crash cages and crumple zones in order to gracefully survive collisions, resulting in an excellent safety record and ridiculous costs.

Making a US train go as fast as an EU train is very difficult to do feasibly, since it weighs at least 4x as much per passenger.

+ - Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For An Answer

Submitted by RevWaldo
RevWaldo (1186281) writes "The Verge and other sources post how AOL's Ryan Block ultimately succeeded in cancelling his Comcast account over the phone, but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country" in a manner that would cause a character in Glengarry Glen Ross to blanch. Comcast has as of now issued an apology."

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

by mcrbids (#47459179) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

For the most part, I agree with you. I'm also a bit of a cheap bastard. I ride my bike to work largely for health reasons but also because it's cheaper. I switched to CFLs over a decade ago when I saw the cost savings. I aggressively turn up the AC to "just barely comfortable" to save money. I ditched the home phone for Magic Jack, and I ditched cable TV for Hulu/Netflix. By watching the gas consumption calculator on my car, and reading up about "hypermiling" I get about 10-20% better fuel economy simply by changing my driving patterns - after some practice, I can do it without doing anything people driving with me would notice without paying close attention. I routinely time shift my schedule either early or late so I avoid traffic altogether.

If I owned my house, I would have erected a solar back porch roof long ago to both keep sun off the house and power the A/C.

And by the way, modern cars are so low emission that some of them actually clean up the air around them. The 2011 Ford F150 Raptor is one of them. If I were an environmentalist, (and I need to stress that I am NOT) I would push for more of these cars to be on the road than lobbying for higher gas prices (which serves to ruin the economy, and has almost no actual benefit on reducing emissions.)

But, I LOL at statements like this! This statement is only true if you ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room: CO2.

Comment: Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (Score 1) 244

by mcrbids (#47458987) Attached to: German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

Pffft. Please. They have glass windows on their walls, right? An infrared laser microphone reflecting off the window would be more than sufficient. The trick would be to connect several electric typewriters together with a randomizer so that there are many typewriters banging away in random in the same room.

Comment: As a pilot and aviation enthusiast... (Score 1) 88

I really rue the day that "r/c model aircraft" because a "drone". Suddenly, a toy is worth regulating, and it's become rather ridiculous.

Now we're talking about having to tether a model aircraft with a line, so that now we have entanglement issues?

Can somebody please add some reason?

Comment: I simply haven't seen it (Score 1) 401

by mcrbids (#47397617) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

I'm a partner in a small software company. We employ 8 developers, 26 total staff. Our wages are midline, our benefits excellent, and our work environment is superb. I haven't seen *any* benefit from the H1B's.

And we've tried!

We really need people who can code. We have problems to solve, we need programmers to code answers to the problems. We really don't care about education credentials - if you can code, write reasonable answers to solve real problems, we're interested in you. We took a look at the H1B visa thing, and we were consistently disappointed. Gorgeous, impressive resumes for people with Masters or (gasp) even PHDs in computer science who couldn't write a SQL statement, recursive algorithm, or even factor a number. "Write me a function that replaces the word "apples" with "oranges" in a given input string was met with blank stares.

I don't know what they do, but I'm not interested in finding out. But if you want to live in NorCal and want a decent job at a small, securely growing software company... PM me!

Comment: But ugly as hell (Score 5, Insightful) 119

by mcrbids (#47351267) Attached to: Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

So, you have this boxy thing mounted in the middle of the park bench. The promo photo has two attractive people awkwardly trying to look chic sitting next to something about he size of an old-school VCR bolted to the middle of the bench. Of course, you'd naturally stick your 32 oz triple malt latte on it, and any 9 year old with angry daddy issues will beat it with the nearest rock. Meanwhile, it provides no shade at all.

Great idea, utter failure in implementation. Instead:

1) Put the solar panel (even if small) on a pole OUT OF THE WAY so it lets you sit on the !@# seat, and provides at least a modicum of shade. Better yet, made the overhead cover the length of the bench so the shade is usable and you get some protection from light rain.

2) Put the USB charge port under the seat. This provides automatic protection from accidental strikes and also doesn't provide an automatic target for 9 year olds with angry daddy issues.

As it sits now, it's practically a show case example of some bad engineering product a la Dilbert.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz