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Comment What do People need? (Score 2) 109

My parents use their computer to browse the internet, connect with people via social media and play browser based games. All these things are achieved with an average smartphone / tablet.

I use a computer to make software, do business, make artwork, play video games. A phone is nice but it will be along time before I'm running Visual Studio off it, a PC fits my needs.

I'll take a wild ass guess that most people don't need a desktop computer to do what they need, and that's why there is a shift, and why there is no need to realign them.

There is a market for desktop computing, it's just not nearly as big anymore.

Comment More interesting than what it's dropping ... (Score 3, Interesting) 137

would be to know where Debian is heading.

I'd very much like to support a distro which has clearly stated technical and societal values which mirror my own, but it's hard to distinguish exactly what Debian's values are anymore. Merely embracing GPL licensing and its values doesn't really tell you a lot, because even code with ethically questionable goals can be GPL.

Perhaps it's time for a Debian Conference in which "What do we stand for?" could be addressed and made a little more specific.

Comment Re:We are screwed. (Score 1) 54

the problem with wireless data isn't so much how slow it is; but how costly it is(in part because of scarcity, which more efficient RF technology might actually alleviate, the 'because we can' part is a separate issue)

I'd like to know the difference between the high costs due to real scarcity and the high costs due to profit-taking.

I'd love to see a heat map of cell sites based on RF congestion and backhaul congestion to get an idea if the limits being imposed are really about site limits or mostly about extracting maximum profit.

Comment Fuck off, I decide what's fair (Score 5, Insightful) 279

Many websites only exist because of user generated content (like /.).

Don't impose your idea of what's fair to the content I provide for your site.

Web sites had the chance to go the NPR route and be low key about advertising but by and large they went the obnoxious way and embraced pop ups, pop unders, Flash, animation, and widespread invasive tracking.

Fuck that, I'm not participating in your scheme to get rich off my content, at least the part where I provide you with content and am then expected to be shouted at by ads and tracked. That's not even remotely fair.

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 1) 96

And the simplicity... well they did just come out with the SCv2000 which is all wizard-driven and about as dead simple to set up as the EQL. I predict we'll see that same level of simplicity making its way into the higher tier products pretty soon.

That would sure be nice. I like the statistics and most of the features of EM, but their I/O configuration is lunacy, up to and including the required license for virtual ports. All of that feels like a networking configuration system that was solved (and better) elsewhere. I'd like to think they don't make it horrifically complicated just to drive reseller/support revenue and that there's something deep inside that makes it worthwhile, but I find it hard to believe.

The auto tiering if configured correctly can certainly make for an interesting performance story. Put SLC at the top where you want fast writes and allow it to trickle down to MLC and/or TLC... just like 15K->10K->7K. There's a question mark over whether current controllers can really take advantage of the potential performance in this kind of setup, but we're seeing controller performance increasing over generations anyway.

IMHO, new flash technologies like Intel/Micron 3D-Xpoint will moot the need to tier between older generation flash technologies. I also suspect that for all but a few workloads MLC is just so much faster that it won't matter at the customer side. Any performance increase is probably offset by the need for heavier weight controllers needed to manage tiering and data page management.

And as you suggest, interconnects would remain a limiting factor -- how many 24 drive MLC shelves until you saturate even a SAS-12 bus?

Even in networking... they've shit-canned the atrocious Powerconnect line of switches (that some people loved) and replaced with a whole new line of switching from low end to high.

I think the N series is pretty good. I don't see much uptake of Force10 since N series came out and the price/performance/features of the 10 gig N series are pretty good. I'd love for someone to give me a couple of the 10 gig models...

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 5, Insightful) 96

Dell own Equallogic (low-to-mid) and Compellent (mid-to-high).

They already can't quite figure out how to merge the two systems and have been selling both. The inside story is that EQL will go away, but they never seem to go away and Compellent can't quite come up with a product as simple and cheap as EQL. The SC4020, rather than being an EQL with SAS expansion ends up being burdened by Compellent's over-complicated interface system and fiber-channel focused mindset, in addition to being more expensive than EQL (install by a CML certified technician is required, $$$). EQL setup is trivial, I can get one on line in less than an hour.

I think there's also an open question about the mid-long range future of Compellent's primary sales pitch, its automatic tiering of data between different disk speeds (like SSD, 15k and 7.2k) when the future of data storage looks increasingly like it will be all flash, at least for most of the market volume.

What does all that tiering overhead mean in a world dominated by flash? Maybe it makes sense for the absolute largest installs where petabytes are in play, but most of the Compellent installs I've seen have been a shelf of tier 1 and maybe 2 shelves of tier 3. And they're increasingly 10G iSCSI focused, passing on FC.

I can't figure out how they'd blend in EMC to this mix.

What they're probably after is controlling interest in VMware. This would give them a complete vertical play for virtualization, being able to supply compute, networking, storage and hypervisor. They would probably also be in a position to further a lot of network and storage virtualization with control over both sides of the equation, hardware an software.

I do wonder if there's a possible anti-trust question here. I also wonder how Microsoft would feel about it as well.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 207

Didn't you just contradict yourself?

If policy is an attempted experiment and governments always fail to conduct properly controlled experiments, doesn't that end up meaning that it actually is difficult to run controlled experiments in economics? Calling it a problem of will is about as much hand-waving as Keynes' animal spirits.

Generally speaking, I can see where you might be able to run very simple controlled experiments, like taking a hot dog cart to different corners in a city and see how geography affects hot dog sales. But even then you have more variables than just geography in play as changing the geography changes the customer base, the weather may vary, the competition for your type of product may vary and so on. You could go crazy just trying to control those simple variances.

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 4, Insightful) 325

An enlightened perspective, and I think you're right.

I see too many managers just deciding it's an authoritarian chain: you do what I say because I said it.

This will never be fixed until managers are paid and treated the same as the people they are managing. As long as they are compensated and treated as figures of elevated status, they will tend to act in authoritarian ways.

Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 186

My sense is that distributed power production won't work until you get a quantum leap in battery storage so the generators can use their own excess capacity. I'd cover my roof in solar tomorrow if I could have 100 kWh of battery in the basement to cover evenings and peak utilization.

I don't think the idea of a random, unstructured network of spare residential solar over capacity is really what makes for a manageable grid. Maybe the existing grid could be redesigned to support a lots of local feeds in a manageable way, but it would be extremely expensive and I don't know that it's worth the cost, especially if its only to justify the individual generators personal solar economic choices.

I don't agree with the monopoly obligation agreement at all. The concession made by utility monopolies is rate regulation -- they get to charge enough to meet reasonable costs and a fair profit margin. Stable, minimal markup pricing is the concession. By forcing the utilities to buy power they don't need under their current generation and management structure (and at high rates), you're basically forcing them to charge more to everyone else so that they can buy power they don't need from people who have invested in solar.

I'm sorry, but I don't agree that utilities or other rate payers have a moral or any other obligation to subsidize the choice of putting up solar panels. Put up panels if you want, but your economic calculations should just include the power you don't buy from the grid, not the power you make the other rate payers buy from you. If that turns out to be a less winning economic decision, too bad. "Because solar" or similar isn't good enough.

Think of it this way -- if I shop at one grocery store and buy food and then discover I have too much, I can't go to a different grocery store and make them buy back my excess food or give me a discount on the additional food I buy.

Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 186

I just don't get the righteous indignation. Why should the utility be required to buy your excess production at all? I get that in some kind of ideal world, it makes sense to pump excess residential generation into the grid but I don't know if that's much more than wishful thinking right now -- there's no coordination or management of reverse feeds, for the utility its a nuisance and could be a real headache in the future.

At some point I wonder if this is really about being pissed off that the economics of a solar installation is dependent on excess power being sold back and their actual numbers aren't adding up.

I guess my thought is, too bad. If you want solar, you should pay for solar. Asking other people (the other ratepayers) to subsidize your solar installation is kind of BS and no amount of moralizing about your petty 10kw backfeed keeping them from spooling up a gas turbine will make it otherwise.

Comment Re:Planned Parenthood (Score 2) 153

I'm also inclined to give Sanger's eugenics a sort-of-pass.

I think you don't have to swing a dead cat very far to find contemporary medical ethicists exploring some of the same issues Sanger was pretty gung-ho about. Like should a couple discover they both carry a gene which will result in a high probability of a child with birth defects have children? Such a child would likely impose a significant dollar costs, and since most people can't afford to self-fund such care, they will just be shifting those costs onto everyone else.

The racialism and forced sterilization stuff seems distasteful (especially now), but there's a certain dark charitibility to her outlook when you consider the poverty, slums and misery of the poor of her historical era. All of the war on poverty money spent still hasn't cured poverty and the social costs of basically unchecked poverty seem to only perpetuate it.

If you did implement some kind of eugenics, would we have "solved" the problem of poverty, or at least reduced the scale of poverty to the point where it was manageable as a social and economic cost and allowed social welfare spending to actually produce the results its supposed to? Or would it have been a serious problem in terms of shrinking populations and reduced economic growth?

Could you implement a eugenic program in a way that wasn't coercively Orwellian? Could you model social welfare costs of poverty and offer some kind of net-positive cash benefit to people willing to be sterilized?

Comment Re:What's the point of Tivo anymore? (Score 1) 85

Of course, a prerequisite for using TiVo is a more-than-passing interest in browsing and watching TV.

Which really means "cable TV" -- I can't see spending $300 for a new Tivo + $150 a year for a no-content-included Tivo subscription without the giant cable plan content feed to go with it. There's not enough on the broadcast channels to make it worthwhile with an antenna or my bare-minimum cable plan.

And for that kind of money with Amazon Instant, Netflix and Apple content already on my TVs I can buy a lot of seasons of shows that aren't on Prime or Netflix.

Comment What's the point of Tivo anymore? (Score 1) 85

Any one of a zillion boxes will stream content from the major streaming providers and so much of cable's content is available online already.

I've owned Tivos since series 2, but have cut out cable to the "basic" package of local channels only, mostly to appease my wife and son (who has pretty much moved on to Netflix anyway).

I have 3 Series 3 boxes right now, but when they go I can't see a reason for replacing them. I already have other boxes which do Netflix/Amazon/Hulu.

People are always available for work in the past tense.