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Comment: Perl ACT (Score 1) 104

by oneiros27 (#48197667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

You might not even have to start from scratch. I'd wager that ACT (A Conference Toolkit) could be customized to fit their specific needs. ... but they still haven't explained why it is that Event Brite or Brown Paper Tickets wouldn't work for them, other than expense. I guess they just assume that volunteer programmers are 'free' vs. the opportunity cost.

If nothing else, you then don't expose yourself to some security mistake because you rushed to put something together. Or some other simple mistake, like the conference I attended where everything was managed by e-mail ... only it seems their hosting service got flagged as a spam relay, and over 50% of the e-mail never went through. (so the organizers never got many people's talk proposals, and they had to scale back the meeting from 3 days to 2).

Comment: Federal govt + cloud computing (Score 1) 120

by oneiros27 (#48195937) Attached to: Safercar.gov Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

Unless things have changed dramatically*, there are rules that make it harder to use commercial cloud computing, as not all can guarantee that the services will only be hosted in the U.S.

Most agency cloud computing efforts are for internal number crunching (eg, scientific computing), not public facing websites. When they *have* gone and done it, they couldn't come up with a viable cost model for different groups to be willing to convert to the service. (Oh ... you can't tell me the price, because you need to break-even, and you don't know how many people will agree to use it? Okay, that's a decent price; it's not that much more than what we pay now ... oh wait, I have to pay for 3 VMs for prod / test / dev?)

The problem w/ building up a cluster to scale is that it means that you have inefficiencies of having idle machines; the way to get around this is to have lots of unrelated services running on the same system so that they shouldn't all need to max out at once.

In practice, it's often easier to switch to a 'low resource' version of the site when you start getting hit heavy -- drop all of the pretty images cluttering up pages, and just serve the basic content. Webserver tuning also helps dramatically ... as simple as splitting your static content off to a seperate server (so that you can repoint it at a CDN if necessary), while your local servers take the brunt of the dynamic requests. (and possibly make the site less 'interactive' in times of high load.)

* which wouldn't surprise me, as I work for a federal contractor and we seem to be the last ones to know about policy changes ... I once spent more than a year dealing with waiver paperwork only to find that by the time it had been granted that it had been allowed for 6+ months.

Comment: Re:There are limits to freedom of speach (Score 1) 487

by oneiros27 (#48189983) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

My apologies ... I was going with the general U.S. definition of assault (which varies by state), as this is a U.S. based website and the "Freedom of speech is a fundamental right" argument is a typical American attitude due to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I didn't think that the UK had such attitudes, the 2013 Defamation Act came about in part from people suing for journals libel because they published facts about that person and "libel tourism" in general.

Comment: or little people. (Score 1) 396

by oneiros27 (#48189803) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

Their next alternative was people with dwarfism, but many of them suffer from problems that shorten their lifespan considerably. Actually, I kid ... the article *actually* said:

As reasonable as an all-female Mars mission is from an economic perspective, some might find the idea offensive. After all, it'd be an expedition that fails to represent half the world's population; an all-female Mars crew would strike many as exceptionally biased.

Comment: There are limits to freedom of speach (Score 4, Insightful) 487

by oneiros27 (#48182983) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Threatening to hit someone when you're in person is assault. Yet, if done over the internet, you can threaten to kill them, rape them, burn their house down, etc... and that should be legal?

Calling in a bomb threat isn't free speach, no matter if you were 'joking' or not. Screwing with people's lives, even if it's only one person and not a 'terroristic threat' shouldn't be, either.

And the strange thing is ... I'd normally agree with you about the freedom of speach and people need to grow a thicker skin... but once you get threats of violence, that's drawing the line.

I've had a stalker, and even though she was just crazy, not violent, I can say that you will *never* understand what this can do to a person. I knew who my stalker was (she worked with me, and management wouldn't do crap about it; luckily, we worked different shifts) ... but you start panicking every time you see someone in a crowd that might be her. You shut down when someone that you've chatted with on mailing lists meets you in person for the first time and expresses enthusiasm for meeting you.

So, in summary : fuck you and I hope you die in a fire. (yay freedom of speach!)

Comment: Re:MacOS X == not sysadmin friendly (Score 1) 369

by oneiros27 (#48181451) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

If you're gonna switch to FreeBSD anyway why not just a generic 19" x86 server ?

Price, and reliability. Dell rackmount servers hold up fine, but they're way overpriced. As for the generic 'built for linux' type servers, we've tried a few, and had way too many problems with them. (We got some machines from Penguin per the recommendation of another site involved on a project ... of the 4, two were RMA'd ... one had to be sent back a second time).

As I'm a federal facility, RMAs can add a week to however long it normally takes ... gotta blank the drives, fill out the paperwork to get the item untagged, fill out the shipping paperwork (even when freight's paid for, gotta declare what's going out), take it to the shipping warehouse ... wait ... wait for shipping and receiving to x-ray the returned item & tag it ... wait for shipping to deliver to our building (and they only deliver on Tuesdays & Thursdays for our building, due to staffing cutbacks) ... blank drives again (can't trust what came in as we didn't install it), install a fresh OS, reload from backup. (I left out the unrack / pack / unpack / re-rack, as you'd normally have to do that ... but that doesn't take much time, unless they send you back something diferent and the rails don't match).

The machine that had 2 RMAs I kept as a spare, rather than put it into service for anything that mattered ... it just wasn't worth dealing with the headaches from it ... not only was there the 2 months from RMAs, but procurement takes between 1-4 months, depending on if anyone bothers bidding when the SEWP request goes out.

Say what you will about Apple's OS ... the hardware's very reliable, and the minis are cheap enough that it can be put on a government purchase card when you need one without waiting 2 months. My only issue w/ running Mac Minis as servers is the single-tap power. Well, that and thunderbolt, but there's two thunderbolt taps on 'em now, so one for the storage, one for the KVM. (but I won't need the KVM if I'm not running MacOS).

Comment: MacOS X == not sysadmin friendly (Score 1) 369

by oneiros27 (#48180835) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

ipfw's been gone for a while ... but they've made a lot of other stupid choices that might be good for general users, but make things a pain when you're administering lots of machines.

For instance, pushing all updates via the iTunes store; we have a centralized account that we put everything under ... so an iWorks update comes along, and sysadmins have to go and enter the password on each machine.

The 'server' package under the App store to get the server OS ... WTF? For apache, the config files are absolute crap now as there's a ton of if/then logic to alter the config if it's server or client.

And dear god, their replacing some languages (eg, perl), with wrappers that decide which version to call based on what system & user level config is present.

I've lost track of how many things have annoyed me ; I've been sitting on 10.6.8 for a long time now, but after this whole 'shellshock' issue, I was forced to upgrade to something that's still being supported ... and absolutely hate it.

The only good news is that they *finally* updated the mini ... which means we'll finally be getting new hardware to replace our xserves. (the cancelation of which should've been the clue that they didn't care about 'enterprise' type stuff anymore). I'm thinking of putting FreeBSD or similar on 'em though, rather than MacOSX.

Comment: "152% too low"? (Score 1) 423

by oneiros27 (#48071905) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

they estimate past heat tallies were 48% to 152% too low

I still don't understand if this discovery is a good or a bad thing ... but can someone please explain to me how you can estimate that a value is more than 100% "too low"?

I would assume that you would measure heat absorbtion in BTU or Watts, or something that can't go negative (ie, not in degrees Farenheight, which is a temperature, not a measure of stored heat)

Comment: Difficult, not impossible. (Score 3, Insightful) 55

by oneiros27 (#48044031) Attached to: Laying the Groundwork For Data-Driven Science

If the NSF grant process is like the one for NASA, there's still a little bit of flexibility for the program manager after they've gotten the scores.

I know because I was on a panel that specifically gave two proposals 'poor' reviews (the lowest possible), and the program manager asked us to consider changing it. In this case, he's a rather nice guy, and it may just be that he didn't want to have to write the 'your proposal sucks' letter to them ... but those of us on the panel knew that there is _no_ way for them to fund a 'poor'. They have leeway with any other score, and could give something with a marginal rating some seed money (fund 'em for a year, so they might be able to put in a more competitive bid next round).

We told the program manager that no, we wanted to make sure that there was no possible way that those two proposals could get funded.

Comment: names happen ... (Score 1) 242

by oneiros27 (#48016079) Attached to: At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

I don't even drink coffee, but when I go with other people, there are plenty of coffee shops out there (some Starbucks, some not) that ask for your name.

It stands out to me, because one of my co-workers ends up with 'Richard' on his cup, because he doesn't want to waste 5 min repeating his name and then trying to tell them how to spell it.

Comment: Re:~/.cshrc (Score 5, Interesting) 208

by oneiros27 (#48008495) Attached to: Apple Yet To Push Patch For "Shellshock" Bug

Oh, you think you're kidding ... but the problem isn't just bash ... it's that Apple uses bash in place of sh.

So most programs that shell out (php, perl, etc) are potentially vulnerable no matter what initial shell they were called from:

csh< env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' perl -e 'system "echo test;"'
vulnerable
test
csh>

Comment: There are lots of types of conferences. (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by oneiros27 (#47965049) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

In my opinion, the larger conferences tend to be a complete waste of time -- they're basically a time for press releases by vendors who want to sell you something. You get the same thing with the mid-sized conferences in the D.C. area with the 'free for government employees' conferences.

My preference is towards mid-sized conferences (under 1000 attendees), where you actually have a chance to get to talk to people and do some networking ... of course, employers don't always like these, as part of the networking may be your finding another job elsewhere.

Really small workshops (20-200 attendees) are very educational, but they're so small that there's generally an expectation that they're more about collaboration and discussion. I've been to a few that were either 'by invitation only' (typically my boss is invited and sends me in his place; for one I talked my way into an invite; another required everyone to submit an abstract and they selected ~50 people to attend based on them). They tend to be strategy related -- what issues does the community need to be aware of & working on.

You also have the more 'academic' vs. 'practical' conferences in some fields ... the academics present on research but often end up missing what I believe are the really key questions that they need to be asking. Practical conferences can also be tiring, if you end up with talk after talk of people coming up with effectively the same solution to a given problem.

From the sounds of things, what you're looking for is training, not conferences. Some conferences do offer training either before, during or after the conference ... and for the pre- / post- stuff, you may not need to register for the main conference.

As for who pays ... it depends. At my work, training is handled seperately from conferences ... for conferences, I get reimbursed for my expenses (travel, hotel, food, registration). For training, I get registration back (provided it meets with their requirements for 'training', but not the rest of it unless it's 'company directed training' (they told me to go, vs. my asking to go). In many cases, I've worked with my manager to get listed as 'teleworking' during the conference, so they'll pay my salary while I'm there, but I pay the rest of the costs.

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