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Comment Re:Really big "MOD UP" for ergonomics person (Score 1) 421

Go to a real office furniture company and get good chairs. don't go to Walmart, Officemax, Staples, etc. Back in 1995 I spent $600 to buy a heavy duty 24/7 office manager's chair. It came with a 12 year warranty. The chair is still in use.

I'd also suggest a comfy cot/lazy-boy/ez chair. I'm assuming there are multiple people on duty all the time. This allows one at a time to take a break away from the monitors.

You should make sure everyone can take a 10 minute break out of every hour to rest their eyes.

Comment one solution (Score 1) 349

A company I worked for got around this by ordering all their hardware from dell and always specifying the same hardware so the drivers would be the same. The configured the first system to work the way they wanted with their MS server and then cloned the working drive for all the other workstations. All data was stored on the server. suspect an infected machine, reclone the drive.

Comment variable working (Score 1) 547

Back when I was younger and a grad student I'd typically work 8 to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week on work projects, particularly when there were deadlines. I'd do this for several months at a time, meet the deadline, do some cleanup for a week and take a week off. Most of this was creating new code as I was developing software. I've done this for shorter times since then, like a few days at a time to solve problems for customers at another job. I've done the 8 to 12 hours/day 7 days a week for a couple months several times.

I'm now diabetic and have diabetic eye problems and can't focus on the computer screen well enough to reliably do more then around 10 hours computer work a week. I really miss the ability to program or read tech manuals.

Comment Reliability (Score 1) 464

The biggest problem I've been having with firefox is each of the last few releases seems to have become less stable then the one before it as well as taking a big performance hit. I think this may be the biggest challenge to firefox.

I think they need to take a break on adding/developing new features and take some time to do some serious bug stomping.

I'm starting to think about trying opera and/or chrome due to the crashing problems and sometimes erratic performance issues.

Comment disk block losses (Score 1) 165

What the original post seems to be ignoring is the amount of 'data' stored with the block of data seen by the customer. It has been many years since I last looked into this so there may well be changes but:

A block of data consists of:

header/leader: this is alignment, block id, and other control information. at least 128 bytes

block of data: the data actually seen by the user

trailer: I don't remember the length, but probably close to the size of the header, but at least 64 bytes, probably 128. includes ecc and a second block id and other control information.

so assuming you have a track with a raw capacity of 1MB, just as an example:

512 byte blocks: 1,000,000/(128+512+128) = 1,000,000/768 = 1,302 blocks = 666,624 usable bytes out of 1,000,000 or 67%

4096 byte blocks: 1,000,000/(128+4096+128) = 1,000,000/4352 = 229 blocks = 937,984 usable bytes out of 1,000,000 or 94%

so the larger blocks make mush more efficient usage of the raw space. Even if the trailer becomes 512 bytes, the new utilization is 84%

Comment Re:some steps I'd take (Score 1) 532

In the proprietary system I used the BaSIC language was burned in ROM as the OS, no other languages. I've worked on other systems that did not have a C compiler or were sufficiently unique that the 'generic' tools would not work. I've even seen some generic tools blow up due to some of the bad programming used and/or not be able to figure out what was going on.

I'm not saying that the person should always write their own tools. If the generic ones aren't available or don't work for whatever reason, writing some of your own to help can be a bonus in the long run.

Sometimes having tools that know more about your specific environment can be more helpful. Sometimes the information you want isn't something available from a generic tool.

Comment some steps I'd take (Score 1) 532

There are many things I'd do and some are dependent on the language as some things make more sense in some languages and less in others.

First thing I'd do is get all the existing documentation I can find including the end user documentation of how to use the software.

I'd next try to break the software down by modules, subroutines, functions, library routines, etc. to get an idea of what does what. I'd also try to determine variable usage, such as local vs global variables and where things are defined.

If the above is not already documented I'd work on creating the documentation so I don't have to refigure things out each time I dig into the code for something.

The code style of the previous people who worked with the code can be very important. Some languages are easier to write obscured code in then others. If the code is NOT documented or the documentation is obsolete I'd start working on the inline documentation. Anyplace that the code is very obscured or poorly written I might look into rewriting so the code is easier to document and easier to read.

Don't trust any of the documentation until you've made sure it is up to date.

At one of my jobs the package I was hired to maintain, support, and enhance had been modified on a per customer basis where some varialbes had different meanings in different versions. There where some features where the feature was implimented differently in different systems to meet different customers differing and conflicting needs. In some cases the mainline module code would look the same but the differences would be hidden in the subroutines. This was made even more complicated by being a multiuser application that did its own file locking. The original application had been single user so there was more then one method of gdoing file locking, some of which was based on what files where in which 'partition'. The system only allowed locking entire 'partitions' at one time. As customer grew to need multiple disks with multiple partitions the multiuser locking would erratically fail, corrupt data or deadlock, etc.

Look for the tools people mentioned that can help you easier figure out how things work. There were no tools for the system I worked on so I had to create my own (proprietary non-standed OS and interpreted language).. My boss complained aobut some of the time I spent working on the tools until he saw how they were saving time and helping make it easier to make changes.

Don't be afraid to look for tools to make your life easier. Don't be afraid to write your own if there is a good reason to do so.

The system I worked with was about 200 programs / customer with about 200 subroutines (sometimes unique for a customer) in each system.

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