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Comment: Re:The Only One I've Seen.. (Score 3, Informative) 65

by walt-sjc (#39350571) Attached to: Dell Announces Intent To Acquire SonicWALL

We are a SonicWall partner - a large portion of our clients use them.

Sure you can do content filtering, but it's impossible to configure any sort of granularity in the system such as, allow these users to access these sites, those to access those site. I've worked with multiple Sonicwall engineers on this issue. You just can't do it. Period. There is one set of rules that you can either allow or deny. That's it. Similarly, the bandwidth management sucks if you want to do any sort of QoS.

This all boils down to the UI really. GUI's and firewalls are just a mix that only work for simplistic needs. Once your needs pass a certain threshold, they just get in the way and make it nearly impossible to do the configuration you need. Sonicwall designed their interface for the "part time office manager IT person" and grew from there. And it shows. Cisco frankly is in a similar situation. Use the GUI for simple crap to get you going, the command line when you actually need to do anything complex.

As another poster mentioned, pretty much all firewalls out there are embedded Linux or BSD, and just slap their GUI on top along with other random services. Some do a pretty good job of exposing the underlying power of the native firewall, others, not so much. Sonicwall's is pretty good for exposing that power but the web GUI gets in the way all too often when you need to do a lot of similar rules or complex rules.

Finally, another poster recommended using GMS to manage multiple Sonicwalls. This product is insanely priced and only makes sense in a larger organization that would be better served with alternative products (Cisco, etc.) Despite all the high end models they sell, I wouldn't use ANY of them for an organization with high-end needs. Sonicwall's nitch is small business with 50 or fewer users and in my opinion, selling and supporting these things, that's the only market that it's viable to use them in.

Comment: Re:Nah (Score 3, Interesting) 498

by walt-sjc (#34888586) Attached to: Should Employees Buy Their Own Computers?

No it doesn't translate well to computers.

Do you really want your financial, personal, or medical information on some random idiot's personal machine? A machine (maybe a laptop) that someone's kid uses to download all sorts of crap? What if the machine gets stolen while at the office? Who pays? What about the data? Can you mandate full drive encryption? How do you audit it?

Think of the legal liability.

No, no, it's not a good idea when you think past the initial $$$$ and allure of having a non-sucky work machine. Yeah, a good machine costs a few dollars, but compared to the cost of wages and other overhead associated with an employee, it is fricking stupid to saddle the employee with a crap machine that hinders their productivity. If a better machine increases productivity more than 5% then, as a company, you are insane to keep around a 5 year old machine with a tiny monitor.

We keep most of our clients on a 3 year rotation. The tax laws make it reasonable to do so. We track maintenance costs on systems, and find that as a machine ages, it really does get more expensive to maintain and it costs the company more in lost productivity than it's worth. With rare exceptions, our clients understand this. Tech isn't cheap but not keeping up costs more.

Comment: Re:Hmmmm....Can someone explain...... (Score 2, Informative) 129

by walt-sjc (#32396024) Attached to: A New Neutral, Long-Haul Fiber Network

Ideally, it would allow new ISPs to enter the market and compete with the current conglomerates.

The problem isn't long-haul bandwidth. Reasonably priced OC48+ is already common pretty much everywhere in the US. Reselling it isn't the issue. The "Last Mile" is the issue and has ALWAYS been the issue. The ONLY "resellable" last mile option is telco copper, and the problem with it (in all too many cases) is loop length, and quality of the loop. In my area, the wires are long and old, meaning that 1.5M/384K is the absolute max I can get, and it has lots of dropouts (and I get nasty static on my POTS line.) I've been trying to get it fixed for 5 YEARS! Letters to the PUC have yielded absolutely nothing. So my ONLY other option now is cable. And to be honest, the speed for $$$ on my business line (15M/2M, 5 IP's, no caps) is so far beyond what the phone company or ANY third party DSL ISP can offer, it's a no-brainer. All I could ask for is better reliability (I've had a number of outages where I have never had an outage with my phone service.)

My situation, unfortunately, is not all that unusual. There are areas of San Jose, CA, that STILL can't get DSL due to loop length.

So... Back to the original topic. This will do NOTHING for your local home / small business internet service. It will make it a little less expensive for large businesses to have or upgrade their private networks. That's it.

The solution for the last mile is an independent "fiber utility" that offers / supports the physical fiber, and to allow multiple companies to connect to it and offer services over it at a neutral facility. I don't need 15 different companies stringing cable, but I would like 15 different companies competing to offer me TV, internet, and phone over that common fiber.

Comment: Flash is abused (Score 1) 66

by walt-sjc (#31714982) Attached to: Flash Builder 4 — Defective By Design?

I tried to like flash, I really did, but it has proven to be of VERY limited utility. Look how flash is actually used on sites now.
  1) Advertising - this helps me how? I can't say how much I hate sites that start blaring some crap at top volume as soon as I navigate to the page.
  2) Web Site splash screens - OK, where's the skip button so I can actually get to content? I have yet to see, since the inception of Flash, a splash screen that imparted useful information
  3) Games - OK, this is a valid use, but subject generally to a lot of limitations - such as not being scalable. Most games look like crap on my 1900x1200 (and larger) screens.
  4) Embedded media (audio and video) - another somewhat valid use, only due to the pathetic behavior of the HTML standards committees who should have defined standardized browser native capability 10 years ago. Again, not scalable, which really sucks.

Because the VAST majority of flash objects are ads and other undesirable useless content, I surf with no-script and avoid them.

But here are my main reasons to avoid use of Flash where possible:
  1) Content inside Flash isn't searchable
  2) Flash content is not viewable on the vast majority of mobile handsets
  3) Flash content can't be "read" by screen readers, making it useless for the visually impaired
  4) Content inside Flash can't be cut and pasted (you can take screen shots, but that "sucketh")

I have similar complaints about Javascript, which I also see regularly abused for doing menus and buttons that can (almost always) be done with the EXACT SAME look and feel using ordinary HTML / CSS.

Bottom line is that Flash is being "abused" - used where it shouldn't be used, in ways that it shouldn't be used in a FAR greater proportion to legitimate uses. It has a bad rep now, and the fault is aimed directly at the majority of flash developers who have created this horrible content. Flash is like heroin though - all too many incompetent web designers are addicted to it and use it wherever they can, as much as they can.

 

Comment: Re:It's the freeloaders time (Score 1) 1051

by walt-sjc (#31389716) Attached to: Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

To be honest, if it were REASONABLY PRICED, I would pay for content. I am not about to sign up for a subscription at $30 / year for a site I visit maybe once a week. Where are the promised micropayments? I would certainly put up with, and use a system where viewing an article that may cost me a nickle as an alternative to a monthly / yearly subscription - but I'll tell ya - long term subscriptions WILL NOT FLY. The internet is not a collection of magazines where you may subscribe to a half dozen. We know that. How would it be if every site on the internet had a long-term subscription-only model? How would you even FIND good sites?

The internet works as a news / research tool BECAUSE it's freely (or cheaply) available. The lack of a micropayment system is WHY we have this problem today.

Comment: Re:It's the freeloaders time (Score 4, Interesting) 1051

by walt-sjc (#31389610) Attached to: Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

I'll allow static non-animated pictures. Anything with flash, javascript, or embedded in iframes is blocked. If you can't communicate your message with a picture, you don't deserve my attention. Oh - and adwords is fine too.

Advertisers have no morals and no shame. If they could legally send a barker around who breaks into your house and yells at you through a megaphone, they would. The industry would (and currently is attempting to) outlaw any technology that is capable of bypassing ads in any medium. Hell, if they could get away with it, they would outlaw eyelids so you couldn't close your eyes and mandate locking seatbelts that wouldn't allow you to get up and go to the bathroom during commercial breaks.

Did I mention I hate most ads?

Comment: Re:Use ALL 14 WIFI channels ! (Score 2, Informative) 178

by walt-sjc (#31380068) Attached to: Best WAP For Dense Crowds?

You can't use all the channels due to overlap / interference. 1,4,7,11 OR 2,5,8,12 - BUT - the issue is going to be how they are allocated. If everyone tries to connect to the same AP / channel, it's still not going to work. You solve this by using directional "sector" antennas. However, these cost a small fortune. Best bet in THIS application, with budget constraints, is to use decent commercial AP's on 4 different channels around the middle of the corners of a 3x3 grid and hope that user devices will pick AP with the strongest signal. The number of devices that support 5Ghz is soooo limited right now that a single device at that freq in the middle is probably all that is needed. Hopefully this changes over the next few years and we get more 5Ghz adoption.

Precise placement and number of units, etc., depend on the details of the space, and for that you pretty much need a walk-through.

Depending on usage, etc., be prepared for crappy performance anyway since whenever you have tons of devices all working on the same frequency range. It's going to suck no matter WHAT you use because all the devices will be somewhat chatty and interfere with each other. Remember - it's not just communication between Bob and the AP - you have all of Bob's neighbors interfering with him too - even if you had a super-highly directional antenna pointed right at his laptop, Bill, Lisa, Frank, Biff, Buffy etc. etc. sitting at the same table as Bob will be interfering with his communications since they are NOT directional (and neither is Bob.)

Comment: Re:Of course (Score 1) 406

by walt-sjc (#30789200) Attached to: Bing Gaining Market Share Faster

A little late AC, since when he bought the phone it had Google on it, and Verizon installed Bing after the fact (which is fraud in my mind.) Users not only have the right to whine, they have an obligation when a company behaves like this - to let people know, and pressure a the misbehaving company. Switching away has costs - since you are probably dealing with contracts (early termination fees,) an investment in the hardware itself, phone number migrations, etc. etc. Switching is expensive and users should not have to bear the costs when a provider damages their phone / service in this way. In fact, the cost of migration is likely several times more expensive than the phone itself.

Sure wish there was a "clueless" mod for posts like yours, AC...

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