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Comment: Re:Disagree (Score 1) 239

by mlts (#46779925) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

I don't see tape being killed off until magnetic density in HDDs hits major diminishing returns. Even though there is only one tape drive maker these days (Quantum with the LTO line), they can keep advancing tape because the media has a lot more area than a HDD platter (or a stack of platters.) An average LTO-6 tape is 846 meters long, and that is a lot of space, even with factoring in the physical contact that the media has to go through.

It would be nice to see a consumer grade tape drive that can run from USB 3 or 3.1, especially if WORM cartridges were available, with media about 1TB native in capacity. Couple this with some decent backup software, and it would come in handy to mitigate data loss. Tape's advantage is that it is inexpensive, easily stored (drop a cartridge, and if there is no physical damage, it will still work), and can be set read-only in hardware.

I've wondered if a HDD maker could make archival grade hard disks, with media that can last 25 years or so. This might require multiple sets of read/write heads (similar to a drive that had two sets and could access different data sets at the same time independantly.) Couple that with a form factor that is easily grippable/manipulable by a robot, and that would replace both VTLs and real tape libraries.

Comment: Re:RAID? (Score 1) 239

by mlts (#46779095) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

I've seen a couple hard drives in laptops that present themselves to the BIOS as multiple volumes, although I don't know what brand they are (if someone does know the make/model, please enlighten me). One had a 32 GB SSD partition, then a 512 GB HDD partition. Unlike drives that have an 8GB cache, having two volumes allows the OS, swap, perhaps an application to sit on one volume while everything else is on the HDD.

As for the backup hard disk, that is a wise idea as the first level of defense. It can't hurt to have another means of backup just in case malware nails that drive, but having the backup drive will counter a number of "oops" issues (deleted files, etc.)

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 276

by mlts (#46778707) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

There is a balance. If you bend over too much and let them "do your job", there may be grave issues several months down the road.

The problem with that is the "it happened on your watch" statement that will be uttered come any calamities in the future. The patch they rejected that causes an outage later on won't fall on their heads. It will fall on the sysadmin's head. Even though it won't be the sysadmin's fault, they will get fired because management has to appear to do something, and the sysadmin was in the driver's seat.

One can't be a complete douchebag, but one can't just cede control over completely. If push comes to shove, it is better to get laid off because a H-1B is taking over than be fired for cause.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 2) 276

by mlts (#46778659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

Another thing that might happen is that change management gets selectively enforced. One set of machines would be scrutinized where every change, even an addition of a drive to an array, would require a meeting and people signing off on the change, while the machines running a different OS would be able to be taken down, reinstalled, or otherwise modified at will without any paperwork needing to be done. (And vice versa.) Even SANs need to be documented because if someone puts both paths of a production box's MPIO links on the same drive controller, then reboots the controller, there will be Hell to pay.

Change management needs to be even across the board, be it SAN configurations, Windows, UNIX, router configurations, ASA rules, phone switch configs, VMWare configurations, and so on. If one group starts getting a free pass, then the whole system ends up being pointless come an outage that ends up being traced to undocumented changes in a part of the company that has gotten carte blanche.

Change management in even a SMB requires someone dedicated to the task of dealing with documenting changes. It requires a dedicated server, change management software, and someone who will maintain/backup/archive that. That server will be a PITA... until an outage happens and the fingers start pointing. Then, it can save a person their job.

Ideally, the change management software should allow people to put in their own changes. Say an admin is changing passwords or moving files from one filesystem to another. Might as well have a tool where items like that can be documented. Same with calls to a vendor for support, so later on, if something breaks, a simple search might come up with historical data.

All and all, a change management system is a good thing. However, it needs to be universally enforced with various grades of policies (emergency fixes can go on without approval, for example) for it to be of any good.

Comment: I'll give you six amendments: (Score 5, Insightful) 1474

by mlts (#46767983) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Here are six amendments (not in any form of airtight legalese) that would be useful:

1: Campaign donations are forbidden. Each candidate for an elected office will get an equivalent place to state their platform. Advertising anything election related on a commercial (paid) basis will be a crime.

2: Similar to Article 9 of the Mexican Constitution: Only US citizens can influence the politics of the nation.

3: A "no confidence" vote can be done on Congress, forcing a complete re-election with no incumbents allowed in for the next term (but can run after that.)

4: Same as Article 23 of the Mexican Constitution. No double jeopardy, and after three trials, the defendant is now absolved of charges.

5: Same as Article 10 of the German Constitution, guaranteeing privacy.

6: The right to a firearm is guaranteed. However, part of school education is firearms training, from elementary school to high school. The purpose of this is to "un-Hollywoodize" firearms, and make them perceived as a tool (similar to a chainsaw or weed whacker), and no more. If packing becomes pedestrian or gauche, the gun control problem will go away by itself.

These are not perfect, but they will go a ways to address critical issues.

Comment: Re:Polution tax (Score 4, Insightful) 156

by mlts (#46767515) Attached to: Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US

If the microwave was repairable/servicable with magnetron parts available for example, there wouldn't be anything wrong with an $800 unit. In fact, going back to appliances that are designed to be repaired rather than replaced is probably one of the best ideas that can happen in the market.

One example of this are portable generators. I can buy a no-name Chinese model inverter on the cheap. However, if I need to find a carb, jets, brushes, or other parts, I -might- be able to adapt something, or I might just be SOL and have to buy a new one. Or, I can pay the price premium for a Honda, Yamaha, or Champion make, and be able to find parts almost anywhere.

If LED light bulbs mature enough so they have a long MTBF, then three for $25 is a good deal. That isn't a bad thing either.

Similar with a phone. If it were made somewhat modular where RAM, flash storage, and other parts were upgradable, with the antenna being easily swapped out, then paying twice as much for the device wouldn't be a bad thing.

It would be nice to see something other than the absolute race to the bottom when it comes to materials, fit/finish, customer support, and overall quality.

Comment: Re:whine (Score 4, Insightful) 213

by mlts (#46763661) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

I have seen some companies have their developers given autonomy, with their own DevOps, mainly because it allows for what is needed to get granted. New subnet for lab testing? It is a lot easier to get a DevOp guy to configure the VLAN for it than to submit a ticket to a different organization that isn't connected at all, nor knows what needs done.

Of all the organizations in a company, dev needs the loosest reins (while still keeping separation so that the loosened policies don't allow for a security breach to compromise other departments.) The other department that needs autonomy is QA, because $DEITY knows what needs to be tested against.

So, having an autonomous DevOps means that the dedicated programmers have people that know what they want/need, and have the ability to get that.

In my experience, this does seem to work and work well in SMBs that are not just hiring H-1Bs or offshoring their entire dev department in toto. Larger companies, depending on corporate culture, not so much. Dev and QA should be autonomous. They have to be because that is where things get invented and bugs get squashed.

Comment: Re:Energy Control Systems Online? (Score 2) 95

by mlts (#46761783) Attached to: Lack of US Cybersecurity Across the Electric Grid

I wonder what ever happened to the concept of the data diode. That way, stuff can be monitored... but it would take someone physically there for action [1]. I've done this on a low bandwidth basis by using two machines on physically separate networks, a serial cable that has one line cut (so it could only send signal one direction), syslog on one side, and a redirect from the serial port to a file on the other side.

[1]: Of course, this isn't 100%, someone can pretend to be a manager or upper muckety muck, but it is a step up from a remote attacker just typing in blkdiscard /dev/sda on an embedded machine that got exploited.

Comment: Re:Bicycle! And motorcycle. (Score 1) 163

by mlts (#46748937) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

Similar dilemma. A regular bicycle is unfeasible due to distance. Hopping a bus with a bike is iffish, since there are only two bike spaces in the rack per bus that shows up every hour... and assuming a slot got made free, it would be a battle of speed with others. Which leaves folding bikes and having to lug a Brompton into and out of a building.

Even if you find a space, the parking meters are kiosks on every block, and you -will- get a ticket between the time you walk to the kiosk, get the ticket printed out, and come back to the vehicle to put it on.

So, the easiest thing to do is hail a taxi and go from there.

Comment: Re:It's possible to get a job without a degree... (Score 1) 286

by mlts (#46748857) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

The ironic thing, most of the places were private companies without a government contract. They wanted the security clearance because someone else did the vetting for them.

It isn't how I like to be, but just what narrow piece I saw after graduating college. Without the alphabet soup, you never had a chance of passing the first rounds.

Comment: Re:It's possible to get a job without a degree... (Score 3, Insightful) 286

by mlts (#46747385) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

In my experience, you won't get an HR person's attention unless you have the alphabet soup after your name. A bachelor's gets the resume out of the round file. A MCSE/CCIE/RHCE gets it scheduled. A CISSP or TS-SCI clearance gets it to the tech guys to be interviewed. In fact, when I got out of college, most interviews went like this:

Interviewer: "Do you have a CISSP or TS-SCI? No? Next in line, please."

It really didn't matter about experience... one could be clueless in IT but have a MCSE, and be further along than someone who had many years in the field, but didn't have the cert.

Comment: Re:Probably typical (Score 2) 120

by mlts (#46746725) Attached to: 44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

You can count me in that category. I signed up way back in 2008 because after getting out of college, prospective employers would demand if I had a FB/MySpace/Twitter account, and if not, the interview was up, as the HR rep felt that it was mandatory for anyone in IT to have social networking accounts to be considered up to date in skills.

So, I created a Twitter account, followed EMC and a few other names, and called it done... it did make the bean counters happy because they thought I was "with it".

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