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Comment A Good Place To Start (Score 5, Insightful) 468

If you haven't come across this already, this is a good place to start:

As an IT worker myself, one of the most difficult things I struggle with is the frequent lack of acknowledgement and respect. I don't mean simple 'thanks for helping me' responses - although those do count, and workplaces where all employees belittle IT will experience a lot of IT turnover - but for the big things. When we break out all the stops to achieve some huge project, or put in extra unpaid time - we're often salaried, after all - to help someone, the reward is sometimes to have expectations raised, rather than to understand that was an exceptional effort. That discourages us from trying so hard next time.

It's difficult for management to understand what we do, and what they don't understand, they sometimes don't respect. Bonuses are nice, as is comp time. But I really just want to keep things working, and it is distinctly aggravating when I can't prevent a recurring problem because it requires changing the behavior of someone superior to me that doesn't care to make a change, as I'll always be there to clean up their mess. In some cases, it feels like not bothering to install toilets in a restroom because that's what the janitor is for.

All of that said, when it comes to weeding out those that aren't contributing anything... some sort of tracking system is essential, for techs to keep tabs on what they've done. They'll rightfully treat it with skepticism if such a system comes from On High, as the plausible reasoning is to find out how much they can shrink the department. But when brought in with the cooperation of the staff and their immediate management, it can be trusted more. It's also a tool to demonstrate to upper management just how much work we ARE doing, and to justify extra manpower. Simply saying that you need an extra hand often goes nowhere, since IT is frequently seen as a money pit.

And, of course, listen to the techs, the experienced ones in particular. They're the ones that can feel that a piece of software isn't working properly, or that a piece of infrastructure is not up to the task. You don't need to do what they're talking about, but consider their opinion. They're here to understand, fix, and instruct people in how to use technology. Knowing that they're being heard, and seeing visible changes in response to that feedback, does a lot to make a tech feel valued.

Comment Fantastic! (Score 2) 204

Wonderful! Amazing! ...Just like the other half-dozen or so solar cell improvements I've read about over the past few years.
But unless we can actually BUY these upgraded units soon, I'd like to add one more appropriate adjective: Pointless.
(Okay, maybe not entirely pointless. But that's what it feels like when all of these more-efficient panels never seem to show up anywhere.)

Comment Re:Seems just as safe as ever... (Score 1) 1148

I own a 2010 (3rd generation) Prius, and the A/C unit is electric, powered off of the traction battery. So if your main battery is too low, the engine will turn on to recharge the battery, which will then run the A/C... but there is no engine belt connecting the A/C unit to the gasoline engine itself. Also, when the car is in ECO mode, it cuts the power usage of the A/C by about 20% (according to the provided specifications). I don't have the gear to evaluate that percentage myself, but there is a noticeable change in the temperature of the cool air from the vents when I take the car off of that mode. The defroster is also all electric, although it seems to have a higher energy draw.
Classic Games (Games)

Hank Chien Reclaims Donkey Kong High Score 122

An anonymous reader writes "If you can say anything about Hank Chien, it's that he evidently doesn't take defeat very well. Sure, he knew not so deep down that his Donkey Kong World Record score wouldn't last forever, but he couldn't have foreseen that it would have been toppled so quickly. Twice, even. But he also knew that more Kong competition would be coming his way; namely Richie Knucklez Kong-Off in March. So Hank had something to prove, and prove he did. Scoring a massive 1,068,000 points in less than three hours, Hank has officially reclaimed the high score in Nintendo’s 1981 arcade classic."

An Inside Look At Warhammer Online's Server Setup 71

An article at Gamasutra provides some details on the hardware Mythic uses to power Warhammer Online, courtesy of Chief Technical Officer Matt Shaw and Online Technical Director Andrew Mann. Quoting: "At any given time, approximately 2,000 servers are in operation, supporting the gameplay in WAR. Matt Shaw commented, 'What we call a server to the user, that main server is actually a cluster of a number of machines. Our Server Farm in Virginia, for example,' Mann said, 'has about 60 Dell Blade chassis running Warhammer Online — each hosting up to 16 servers. All in all, we have about 700 servers in operation at this location.' ... 'We use blade architecture heavily for Warhammer Online,' Mann noted. 'Almost every server that we deploy is a blade system. We don't use virtualization; our software is somewhat virtualized itself. We've always had the technology to run our game world across several pieces of hardware. It's application-layer clustering at a process level. Virtualization wouldn't gain us much because we already run very close to peak CPU usage on these systems.' ... The normalized server configuration — in use across all of the Mythic-managed facilities — features dual Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors running at 3 GHz with 8 GB of RAM."

Comment Re:A former employee (Score 4, Interesting) 417

About a decade ago I worked for Staples, in their business center.

I witnessed, firsthand, a 'model' employee taking a printer out of a customer's cart when the customer revealed that they weren't going to buy the money pit of an extended warranty plan! Subsequently telling that same customer that the entire wall of boxed printers was on hold for 'a school' was the icing on that particular cake.

Our store had the best rankings in the district because 'we' flat-out refused to let warranty-able items go out the door without a warranty being purchased. While the official store policy was never to use those sorts of tactics, there was a sheet that was distributed to each store in a given district, posted prominently in the break room, ranking each store by how well they did selling those warranty plans, and the best store got awards and the like. Kind of a we don't condone this behavior, but if it gets results, we'll pretend not to notice arrangement, it seemed.

I got in some hot water for not pushing those warranties - I sold perhaps one a month, usually because the customer wanted it - but I had other good employee qualities that they apparently decided were worth keeping me for.

Anyway. I have no idea if they still do such a thing, but it's not a new idea.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman