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Comment Re:It's a Good Idea.... somewhat (Score 1) 627 627

Something is seriously wrong with the way your workplace has configured their update policies. By default, updates are downloaded via the BITS service which tries very hard to only use bandwidth that is otherwise idle and will aggressively throttle itself down or even pause itself if there are other things using your network connection.

Also starting with Windows 8/Server 2012, by default an update will NOT reboot a machine if a user is logged in and the screen is locked (indicating that the user is not present). When the user returns and unlocks their screen, they receive a prompt indicating that a reboot is required and can defer the reboot up to a set amount of time (that maximum is set by policy, default is 10 minutes, maximum possible is 30 minutes.)

This generally gives the user plenty of time to save their work and reboot their PC while the timer discourages them from continuing to work without first rebooting.

The default update policies are fairly user-friendly and ensure updates are installed in a timely manner while giving users the opportunity to save their work if they are in the middle of something. It sounds like the company you work for went out of their way to deliberately configure the update policies to be as user-hostile as possible.

Comment Re:Backups for Mac: Time Machine + offsite (Score 1) 297 297

RAID won't protect you against data corruption...but time machine will.

Since when does Time Machine have any form of checksum or integrity check whatsoever? I have seen time machine backups that suffered from silent corruption and as a result were unusable. The drives themselves were fine but the data written to them was bad.

To protect against silent corruption you really need a backup system that uses a resilient filesystem like ZFS or ReFS which make extensive use of checksums to detect corrupted blocks and repair them from other copies. Typically those filesystems also require the use of ECC memory to ensure that transient memory errors doesn't cause any problems.

Comment Re:Basically (Score 4, Insightful) 96 96

The whole point of the Insider Preview is to have people test alpha/beta releases that are under active development. Having extensive telemetry and reporting makes perfect sense in that context and Microsoft has been very clear from the beginning that they were collecting such data.

After Windows 10 is released, the delopment of Windows 10 will continue and new development builds will be available to insider members. The insider program doesn't stop once Windows 10 is released.

If you don't like the data collection, don't run the Insider releases and instead upgrade to the retail release from a Windows 7 or Windows 8 install after the Windows 10 release date.

Comment Re:Windows XP is also prevalent in medical devices (Score 1) 42 42

another question is...does MS even have a newer "embedded" OS?

Yes, they do. There are several versions of Windows Embedded 7, Windows Embedded 8 and Windows Embedded 8.1 available depending on the needs/requirements.

If I remember correctly there was an embedded version based around the Vista kernel as well although I never saw it used on any actual devices.

Comment Re:1.5V alkaline vs 1.2v NiMH (Score 1) 243 243

The old PalmOS devices had options to select which battery chemistry were in use. If I remember correctly, support for recharable batteries such as NiMH cells was added somewhere around PalmOS 3 or perhaps 3.3. A reference page indicates that Alkaline, NiCad, Rechargeable Alkaline, and NiMH were supported.

If you didn't select the correct chemistry it could report the batteries as being dead or almost dead when they still had lots of life left.

I had a Palm IIIx that I used for many years and I ran it almost exclusively off of NiMH batteries with no problems. If I remember correctly I had the charge the batteries around every 2 weeks or so.

Comment Re:When do we get a real boost over 2013 speeds? (Score 1) 126 126

Since most GIS systems are heavily multithreaded, wouldn't you be better off with more CPU cores rather than a few fast cores? The Xeon series of processors are designed for this type of thing much more so than the Core i7 series.

The i7-3930K is a 6 core CPU. If you want to stick with a single-CPU system, you could go with an Xeon E5-1691 v3 which gives you 14 cores.

If you are willing to go with a dual-CPU system, you could go with something like the Xeon E5-2698 which 16 cores per processor (for a total of 32 cores in a dual-CPU workstation.)

Of course the Xeon CPUs can get a bit expensive and many require different motherboard chipsets (although low-end motherboards compatible with Xeon CPUs cost about the same as a good motherboard for an i5 or i7 now.) However, the CPUs I referenced are pretty close to top of the line. You can save quite a bit and still far more cores than you can on an i7 by going down a model or two.

Comment Re:flat as a pancake: invasion pending (Score 1) 236 236

Please explain the presence of Metro on Windows Server 2012.

Why did you install Metro on your server? The default install options for Server 2012 and 2012R2 is the Core install which doesn't include Metro and is designed to be managed orimarly via Powershell or via Server Manager running on a workstation.

There is an option to install GUI components but that it primarly designed for Terminal Servers and similar environments where the server is expected to provide desktop sessions to end-users via Remote Desktop or RDWeb. As a result, the server GUI is made to look as much as possible like the client GUI.

Administrators are expected to use Powershell, and/or Server Manager and the Remote Server Admin toolkit (which consists mainly of various MMC snap-ins that haven't changed a whole lot in recent times.)

Indeed, managing servers via the Admin Toolpack running on workstations was preferred in most cases even back in the Server 2003 days and Powershell works really well for machines running Server 2008 or later.

Comment Re:funny we can't shutoff computers anymore (Score 1) 106 106

Well designed SSDs are designed such that they can handle a sudden loss of power. Unfortunately many of the consumer-grade SSDs being sold right now lack any form of power loss protection and can loose data if they aren't given enough time to power down properly (that includes many SSDs being sold by OEMs pre-installed in desktops and laptops).

When buying an SSD, I always check reviews and the better reviews detail the power loss protection (or lack thereof) present in the drives they review.

Drives with large capacitor banks and write-through caching that can withstand and form of power loss often only cost slightly more than comparable drives without such features. It is well worth it to thoroughly research any SSD before buying and ensure it can withstand sudden power losses without any possibility of loosing or corrupting critical data such as internal page tables and block metadata.

Comment Re:Is that all??? (Score 1) 107 107

Of all the destructive things one could do, it rewrites the MBR? That's it? That's fairly easy to fix, and your data is still easily intact by copying it with a second machine.

On top of that on modern UEFI-based systems the MBR doesn't do anything anyway (it is just there to prevent older partition tools from messing with the disk). It wouldn't surprise me at all if a variant of this appeared that attempts to wipe all copies of the partition information on GPT disks as well making it potentially more dangerous.

Also it looks like if it can't write to the MBR, it proceeds to encrypt all files in a user's profile with a random key which I would consider to be significantly more destructive.

Comment Re:Developers! Developers! Developers! (Score 4, Informative) 265 265

Can't you have some sort of aliases in PS? A genuine question.

You can configure alias's quite easily in poweshell and in fact there are numerous alias's built-in for common commands. Out of the box powershell includes a ton of short alias's including "gci" and "ls" as aliases for Get-ChildItem, % is an alias for ForEach-Object, cp is an alias for Copy-Item, etc.

You can get a list of all alias's defined using Get-Alias (or gal). You can also create an alias using Set-Alias (or sal).

Microsoft generally encourages people to use the full command names in scripts for readability and to make them easier to maintain but there is nothing to stop you from using aliases everywhere including in scripts.

Comment Re:WSUS anyone? (Score 1) 141 141

Actually SCCM uses WSUS to retrieve the updates. It just uses it's own client and the SCCM infrastructure to push the update installers to the machines and make sure they get installed.

WSUS itself is simply a role that is included in most server versions of Windows. SCCM is a separate product (although very handy if you have a lot of PCs to manage) and parts of it are included for free in some volume license agreements.

At my workplace, our volume license agreement gives us SCCM for free for managing client PCs but we would have to pay for licenses if we wanted to use it to manage servers as well. As a result, we manage our desktops and laptops with SCCM and handle servers via WSUS.

Comment Re:Not necessarily! (Score 1) 140 140

If I remember correctly, if a cable company carries local OTA channels they must offer those channels to all subscribers at no additional cost and cannot restrict access to those channels.

In practice, that means that if a cable company rebroadcasts local OTA channels they are usually unencrypted on the wire whereas the rest of the cable channels are usually encrypted.

That also means that even if your have Internet-only service, you can usually plug the cable into a suitable tuner (which some TVs have built-in) and receive any OTA channels that are being rebroadcasted by the cable company for free. (Usually other channels included in the basic package are encrypted so only the OTA channels are actually receivable without a cable box, cablecard, or similar device with an active service account.)

Indeed, in some cases even if you aren't paying for any service at all but the cable is still physically connected you can often get rebroadcasted OTA channels.

Comment Re:So, were are they assembled or fabed? (Score 1) 229 229

If I am not mistaken, the vast majority (if not all) Xeon chips are fabricated in Malaysia. Pretty much every Xeon CPU I have seen has had either Malaysia or Malay stamped on it and most engineering samples for new server and workstation chips appear to come from that fab as well.

Comment Re:2009 (Score 1) 209 209

Open task manager and ... oh that's right it doesn't support per logical cpu like 7 does so you can't tell if a single threaded app monopolies a core. Resource monitor for that.

Have you actually used the Task Manager on Windows 8? The improvements in the Windows 8 task manager is one of the major improvements over Windows 7 in my opinion.

The default "out of the box" view on the Performance tab shows a single graph summarizing processor load, but clicking on the graph provides several options to customize the graph including an option to display a separate graph per logical CPU core.

This appears to provide just as much information as was available in Windows 7 but in an easier to read format - especially on systems with 8 cores or more.

There is also an option to overlay the amount of time spent in the kernel and in multi-socket systems there is an option to group the graphs by NUMA socket.

Comment Re:Simplicity? (Score 1) 269 269

That said, I wish they took it one step further and provided a one-time-use CC number for every transaction. This way anyone who manages to steal that information would not be able to use it again.

Actually that is exactly what Apple Pay does. and is precisely why I have begun using Apple Pay as much as possible The phone generates a new one-time use credit card number for each transaction. So even if the number given to the merchant is compromised somehow, it will be rejected if someone tries to make a second charge using that number.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"