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Comment: Re:Change management gone wrong (Score 1) 276

by roc97007 (#46783297) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

> The idea of change management is to ensure that changes are tracked, but this sounds like bureaucratic crap.

Yep, that often happens when the people who are putting together the change management system have little experience with the issues that a change management system is supposed to fix. You then get hilarity like systems that prevent reasonable reaction time to production outages, "blanket" notification for every single change, a process that can't be successfully negotiated in less than a week, or my personal favorite, a mandatory process with no owners.

The issues as I see them are (a) what does the change entail? (a Red Hat "patch" sometimes will change the RHEL version number, which may take your apps out of compliance) (b) what else does it affect? (Sun patches often installed a virgin, rendering email inoperable) (c) have you tested this change in a non-production environment? (if you're going to brick a server, do dev first) (d) will we be able to look back later and figure out what change occurred when and by who?

But this often degenerates into the managerial equivalent of a hen party, driven by people with way too much time on their hands, and the value is lost.

Comment: patches really are an issue (Score 1) 276

by roc97007 (#46779931) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

I'm not sure that CAB is necessarily the right solution, but patching really is a problem and can't be done blindly unless your business can take the occasional production hit.

Admin is outsourced at out company, (I'm a former sysadmin who now does application admin, still local) and the contract apparently specifies "current minus one", which means we patch frequently on all platforms. The problem is, the offshore admins have no context, no idea what server provides what resources, (and yes, we've tried to educate them -- the information gets "lost" within weeks or months) and no conception of the idea of patching first on dev, then test, then prod. They manage patches by version numbers not by environments, which means a collection of patches may be announced (to all and sundry because they refuse to use the contact list) is a hodgepodge of development, sandbox and production servers. Information is commonly that the servers "will be patched" but not to what version, which has caused contractual support problems (where a server is running a more recent version of the OS than is supported by the app). Other joys have involved bricking prod servers with firmware patches, because they didn't try them in test first, insisting on doing nonessential servers on the weekends instead of evenings (because, no context) and forgetting that when it's daytime over there, it's dark over here, and I'm probably not going to be at my desk at 0'dark thirty to give some last minute approval to take a server down.

It's a mess, and the CAB process, as obnoxious as it is (we sit through 150 -- 200 change descriptions every week) serves to catch many of the above issues. The outsourcing company is annoyed by this -- they just want to patch -- but we have the process as self defense against very real issues.

What I'd recommend to the OP is to hire someone to manage the CAB process. We did, and it worked out pretty good.

Comment: Re:Modded down? (Score 1) 286

by roc97007 (#46779559) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

> I'm glad I was able to make it, retire, and now I only program for fun again like I did back when I was young. But I did that by living on half of what I made (which was a lot thankfully).

This is hard to confess. That's one of my biggest regrets, that I wasn't strong enough at the time to stand up to my wife and say, yes, I make six figures right now, but it may not last forever and we should plan accordingly. I was under huge pressure to spend money on her, to the point that for a time I was spending more than what I was making. (I calculated once that just under 2/3 of my net pay was going into food and entertainment alone.) By the time I grew a spine and started cutting back, I barely had enough time to approach debt-neutrality before the bust came. And then, a long period out of work. I nearly lost the house.

Anyone who wasn't an idiot would have continued to live simply, invest, pay off the house, and get ready for hard times. Had I done this, I might have chosen to retire when the crash came, and pursue activities that aren't as profitable but are more enjoyable than my geek job. I take small comfort that I didn't live quite as large as some of my associates during the boom, and didn't fall as far during bust. I could have done better, and should have.

Comment: Re:Is there a rising problem of smartphone theft? (Score 3, Insightful) 132

by roc97007 (#46775769) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

That article is an excellent example of the complete absence of usable statistics. "Involve a cell phone" is very different from "mugged for their cell phone". Thefts are up 40%... from what? 10 people to 14 people? Of those 1.6 million people who had their handsets stolen last year, how many had their handsets stolen in the commission of a robbery where they took everything? How many were a purse snatching which happened to include a cell phone? In other words, is the real issue that criminals are targeting cell phones, or is it that more people have cell phones than at any time in the country's history, which would necessitate an increase in having them stolen?

I could probably make a case that most muggings involve theft of driver's licenses. Does this mean that thieves are targeting driver's licenses, or is it because the card is usually kept in the same wallet or pocketbook as the cash and credit cards?

Stolen iphones can be sold for "upwards of" $2K. What's the median? What's the volume? Is this a real problem?

Comment: Is there a rising problem of smartphone theft? (Score 1) 132

by roc97007 (#46775143) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

...and why would police care? Smartphones are rapidly becoming commodity items, and police have already demonstrated (to me at least) that they don't care about the theft of more valuable items than mere smartphones. For theft that doesn't involve violence, they give you a case number for your insurance and that's the end of their involvement. With the possible exception of stolen firearms, which the police seem to take far more seriously. So lessee... firearms, smartphones... what do these have in common?

Comment: Re:Um Yeah. Right. (Score 1) 109

by roc97007 (#46756841) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

Wow, you might consider moving.

In some parts of the world cellphones are known as "mobile" phones or "portable" phones. Maybe he wasn't at home when they were stolen?

I assumed that. I know "robbed" technically implies a home invasion, but I was assuming he meant "mugged". (Which I agree may not be a valid assumption.) My comment meant: If the crime rate in the area where you live is so high that being robbed for something as trivial as a cell phone (it used to be tennis shoes...) is common, you might consider relocating to some place where that's less likely to happen. Parenthetically, I think this (not robbed for cell phones but crime rates in general) might have been the original reason people who could afford it moved out of the city into the suburbs.

I travel around the continental US for work, was an early adopter of cell phones, (worked as a contractor for a provider for awhile) and I've never had a phone stolen. Not once. Of course, (a) I always have my cell on me, so stealing it would involve interacting with me in some fashion (and I'm pretty big...) (b) I tend to buy a little better than I need and then keep it for a very long time, so the cell I'm carrying at any given moment is pretty beat up, and (c) I've never owned an Apple mobile device. I think they're trendy nonsense and I'm not surprised that they get stolen a lot. Like trendy overpriced tennis shoes used to be. But mostly, I try to stay out of areas where crime is common. (That time in Miami was an accident....)

Comment: You kids with your Windows 8.1 (Score 1) 565

by roc97007 (#46756697) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

I couldn't upgrade to 8.1, let alone 8.1 update 1. 8.0 installed fine, but got massive acpi errors with 8.1 that neither Microsoft nor the hardware manufacturer could fix. (Which, I'd like to say, was a bit annoying after waiting for hours for it to download and install.) For that and other reasons, finally gave up and reinstalled Win7. My copy of Win8 gathers dust on the bookshelf.

It looks like at least some early adopters may be stuck. I don't know of a solution, except perhaps waiting for Microsoft to issue build disks that already contain some future update that sets things right. If such a beast ever materializes.

What a mess. I'd like to submit, this seems to prove that Ballmer wasn't all that's wrong with Microsoft.

Comment: Re:Who doesn't know the Montecarlo method? (Score 1) 307

by roc97007 (#46751999) Attached to: Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

I thought it was a common knowledge.

Why not just put peebles uniformelly distributed on a quarter of a circle inscribed on a square and use the same method?
you will only need a good hand, a stick, and some peebles.

I'm assuming you mean small rocks, and not department stores, which would be much more difficult to drop on a quarter circle. (But not impossible with adequate preparation.)

The simplest answer to your question is "because shotgun shells go bang".

Comment: Re:Modded down? (Score 2) 286

by roc97007 (#46750429) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

I can certainly see an argument for moving, but the poster I was replying to suggested that the only reason people might need more than that kind of wage (roughly $80k / year) would be because they're wasting it on luxuries like a massive house or some such. Which is not the case.

I agree with that. It's a classic problem -- a high cost of living in a given area tends to either drive wages up beyond national average, or drive living conditions down compared to the same career opportunities in other areas. Usually a combination of these.

I still keep in touch with a few people in the Bay Area, and the only ones who own a home live many miles to the east and endure an hours-long daily commute. Most are still renting apartments well into middle age. A few have invested in condos, which in most cases are repurposed motels and apartment complexes.

I've never lived in New York, but from personal experience living in SF, $33/hour isn't exactly rolling in cash.

Comment: Re:Modded down? (Score 2) 286

by roc97007 (#46750281) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

The problem with this thinking is that outsourcing jobs reduces the number of people, holistically, who can afford to buy non-essential products. So eventually, your sales go down anyway. Perhaps not right away, especially if you were on the leading edge of the outsourcing curve, but it's inevitable.

A "gaming mouse" (to use your example) assumes people who (a) have the free time to play games, (b) have the discretionary income to buy games, (what are computer games, still $60 per seat?) and (c) have enough discretionary income left over to buy a gaming mouse. And it is a certainty that some of the young people manning your call center are in that demographic. Except they can't afford that anymore, because you just outsourced phone support off shore and they're back living with their parents.

Of course, there isn't a 1:1 correlation, but the example above illustrates how, on a macroscopic level, every reduction in the number of locals working reduces the number of purchases made by locals. And if you're not exporting, that probably includes consumers in your sales demographic. It's a downward spiral, and it only seems like a fun ride if you're leading the pack. And then, only for a short time.

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.