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Comment Re:It depends - Sticktion Y2K Repair (Score 1) 504

AC: There were recent, reliable backups and the RS/6000 system was under an (expensive) IBM maintenance contract. While we had one or two spare drives on the shelf, we didn't have the six that locked-up.

We were paying IBM for its knowledge through the service contract and we got our money's worth there. Where we were in line to get screwed was in the hardware replacement cost.

At a time when the going rate for hard drives was about two cents per megabyte, IBM wanted more than 13 cents per megabyte. We would have gladly paid double but six times more was off the table for a system that was already in the budget for replacement.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment Re:It depends - Sticktion Y2K Repair (Score 4, Interesting) 504

In preparation for Y2K, we had to turn off our text archive server (at a newspaper) for the first time in, literally, years. The machine itself has been in production for six years, the last two or so of which without a reboot.

It was an IBM AIX machine with an array of 4.5GB SCSI drives. After sitting with its power off for a couple hours, we turned it back on and Nothing Happened. No drives were spinning. Crap.

Called IBM tech support. Got the run-around. Finally got to a guy who said something along the lines of "you're going to think this is crazy but do what I say in this order" followed by...

* turn machine off
* remove drives
* turn the machine on
* bang the drives on their edge a few times on the floor - don't go crazy but harder than you think is a good idea
* spin the drives flat on the ground as though they were tops
* immediately, put the drives in the enclosure
* reboot the machine but do not power it off

Damn if the guy wasn't right.

His guess was that the drives had been powered for eight or so years and the lubricant had either broken down or the heads were simply stuck to the platters. The thumping dislodged the heads and the spin gave the grease a fighting chance. {shrug}

In any case, we dared not turn it off for another year and a half until at such time it was replaced. We thought about buying replacement drives but IBM wanted something along the lines of $600 for a 4.5GB drive. Even on eBay, they were three times what we felt was reasonable.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment Don't Build.... Buy a Drobo (Score 3, Insightful) 260

1. Throw away everything that isn't a standard-sized SATA drive.
2. Buy a Drobo (http://www.drobo.com/products/professionals/drobo-fs/index.php).
3. Put the five (or eight) largest drives in the Drobo.
4. Throw away the rest of the drives.
5. When you get a drive that is larger than the smallest drive in your Drobo, pull the smaller drive out and insert the larger drive.
6. Find peace in the universe.

When I was young and foolish, I tried to keep every drive spinning, even long after its time had passed. I had *nix boxes stuffed with drives and SCSI-attached arrays. I learned a lot about drive management and system administration but, mostly, I learned that there is a value to my time and my time isn't best utilized playing disk administrator.

Drobo doesn't pay me a dime and I am still more excited about Drobo than any technology product since TiVo.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment Father Shot History That Looks More Than Current (Score 4, Interesting) 566

My father was a college student and newspaper photographer in Ohio circa May 1970. His photos of student protest and civil disobedience remind me of what I'm seeing with the Occupy movement.

A year or more ago, I commented that I didn't think the Tea Party would have a long-term affect because they weren't motivated enough to burn down an ROTC building nor were the police scared enough of them to hit them with tear gas.

Agree with them or not. Understand them or not. The Occupy movement is going to leave a mark upon this country because they are willing to have skin in the game.

Cheers, Matt

Comment Drobo is Amazing and Exciting Technology (Score 1) 182

I'm entirely, completely in love with Drobo as a NAS device.

The ability to pop out a smaller drive and replace it with a larger drive is amazing - that is simply how technology is supposed to work. I have the Drobo FS at home and the DroboPro FS at work. Having used them for about a year and having tried to make them fail before I moved them into production, I'm very happy with their reliability and performance. (More on performance in a second.)

At the high end, I have used EMC and IBM solutions. At the low end, I've used every home-built and crappy RAID NAS solution you can name. Having used three of the five products reviewed by InfoWorld, I can say the Drobo is easily better than most of the units reviewed.

Performance on both the Drobo units I own isn't mind-blowing compared to some of the solutions that cost four or five times more. Ease of management, reliability, price point, expandability and overall functionality far offset the less than awesome performance. Still, as Lifix noted, there is more than enough performance to meet the needs of a home or small office. The only time I really notice the DroboPro FS slowing down is when we're running multiple rsync backups to it.

I have not been this excited and evangelical about a piece of technology since I got my TiVo.

Cheers,
Matt

(I'm not in any way compensated by Drobo but would be willing to entertain offers. Drobo? Are you listening? Send me free stuff.)

Comment Cookies Make it Easy to Go Over Calorie Cap (Score 1) 166

I don't see anything wrong with Verizon offering content that is so irrestable that they end up making more money. In fact, I'm pretty sure that is their sworn duty.

Grandmother's chocholate chip cookies make be deliciously irresistable but it is still my fault if I fall off my diet.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment NSA.gov is Only Worth 2,497 Points?!?! (Score 1) 106

Points are awarded based on the wrong algorithm. For example, NSA.gov is only worth 2,497 points but HomeDepot.com is worth 219,941? The Department of Homeland Security (dhs.gov) is worth 17,068 while facebook.com is 75,000,000? Really? Until the rankings better reflect the underlying difficulty and associated risk, I refuse to participate in this sham. Cheers, Matt

Comment Re:Circumventing our autopilot overlords (Score 1) 140

when vehicles without this technology are banned from motorways; similar to horse-drawn vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

Point of order, at least in the United States, horse-drawn vehicles and cyclists are allowed to use public roads the same way they did before the invention of the automobile. Roads are very good about being backward compatible.

Cheers,
Matt

Australia

Aussie City Braces For Worst Flood In 118 Years 214

aesoteric writes "As parts of the Australian state of Queensland either experience or prepare for the worst floods to ravage the state in over 100 years, Australia's techies have taken it upon themselves to keep communications services on as the crisis unfolds. One man is mirroring flood information from a faltering Brisbane City Council website, and others have opened WiFi channels in their neighbourhood whilst mobile signal gets choked. But there is major damage to telco networks — at least one major fibre link has been severed by flood waters, telephone exchanges have been knocked offline and cell towers put on battery or generator back-up (or offline altogether). On a sombre note, the floods have claimed 10 lives, including children, and 78 people are still missing after facing a torrent of water up to 8 metres (26 feet) high."
Image

Make-A-Wish Builds A Millennium Falcon Fort For Boy 94

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a production crew from Little Mountain Productions, a 9-year-old is getting the best fort ever. The crew is making him a Star Wars-themed fort with a gigantic Millennium Falcon with solar-powered LED interior and exterior lighting to sit on top. No word on how fast it can make the Kessel run, but lets hope the kid gets a long trip.

Comment Most Data Isn't Worth Encrypting (Score 1) 660

Most data traveling in the clear has little value. What value it has may be momentary. A week from now, it is worthless.

Heck, most encrypted data has little value. The fact of the matter is most data is worthless junk.

I was the backup administrator for a Fortune 500 company's branch office of 1,500 users. I have a pretty good idea of what data existed because I was responsible for keeping it safe. Of the terabytes upon terabytes of data sitting in the archive, I could have put the worth-encrypting sensitive company information on a USB thumb-drive. There was really that little of it floating around.

So, the reason most data isn't encrypted is that there really is no reason for its encryption.

Cheers,
Matt

Wii

Wii Hardware Upgrade Won't Happen Soon 325

As high-definition graphics become more and more entrenched in this generation of game consoles, Nintendo has had to deal with constant speculation about a new version of the Wii that would increase its capabilities. Today, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime bluntly denied that a hardware revision was imminent, saying, "We are confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it." He added, "In terms of what the future holds, we've gone on record to say that the next step for Nintendo in home consoles will not be to simply make it HD, but to add more and more capability, and we'll do that when we've totally tapped out all of the experiences for the existing Wii. And we're nowhere near doing that yet."

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