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Comment Re:It's about time. (Score 1) 180

Actually, Linksys *used to* produce some decent gear a couple years before the acquisition. In the last 2-4 years prior their quality went completely to crap. I've always wondered what the hell Cisco was thinking basically damaging their reputation by continuing to manufacture the same garbage Linksys had been producing the last couple years.

Comment "Hybrids" (Score 1) 333

This is one reason why I got a Nook Color. I mainly wanted an eReader, but people had rooted the NC, provided instructions on how to fully 'open up' its copy of Android to essentially use it as a full tablet, and it perfectly suffices in that role for my uses.

I've known people who have done similar getting the really cheap no-name Android-based eReaders to use as an entry-level or small tablet and have worked just great.

Comment Agreed! (Score 1) 716

I was one of those who did CS in the mid 90's and dropped out after two years, in my case due to money. I was stuck working on-campus, and even the highest paying job on campus under their work hour restrictions wasn't enough.

I moved back home, got an entry level job, and advanced very quickly. By the time my friends finished their degrees I was making a good salary while they spent years working help desks for minimum wage.

To some extent, I got lucky. I found the right employer at the right time, before the first big 'bubble burst' in the IT world.

Years later after an acquisition and facing eventual layoffs, I spent at least a year looking for a job. I had two places where former co-workers were at that could provide great references and increase my odds. One was an energy company who absolutely would not even look at a resume that didn't have a degree on it. Even their cable monkeys had to have a BS at minimum. Another was a financial institution who at least granted me an interview as a courtesy to my former co-worker but had absolutely no intentions of hiring anyone without a degree.

I tried a major hosting company. It sounded like I was set for the job, though I didn't like much of what I saw--the general staffing there looked like a freshman dorm on laundry day. That didn't go--apparently they didn't want any more senior staffers, just more college kids for minimum wage.

I finally ended up with a software vendor we used who knew my work well, and advanced from there.

I've had people trying to get me to sign up for jobs at newer government data centers that opened up in the area recently. No go there--no job anywhere near my salary level without a degree.

Big Corporate America has too many unqualified screeners in HR.

Small Corporate America is far too concerned about having to pay an employee too much, and are willing to sacrifice what they get for it. Eventually this will come to a head, just like outsourcing to India. When you have to pay ten kids $8 an hour to do what one qualified person making $35 an hour could do you either learn that lesson and thrive, or stick to your ways and die.

Comment A couple more suggestions... (Score 3, Insightful) 416

Trying not to duplicate stuff above..

- A cordless drill kept charged in the server room can definitely speed up SHTF moments. Keep a good set of miscellaneous screwdriver bits and drill bits with it.
- Vice grips. It never fails that you find a screw, bolt or nut that are too stripped. Get a regular pair and a needle-nose pair. I even have a miniature one that is great for tight spaces.
- For when the above fail, an E-Z-Out bit set or reverse drill set for when you finish breaking the head off the screw/bolt.
- If you deal with serial at all (yes, it still exists in many modern datacenters), you may want to get a BlackBox sniffer setup, a good BOB (break out box), etc.
- You want at minimum a basic RJ-45 UTP tester, preferably a large multi-type cable tester. A big expensive unit like a Fluke Netmeter may be great to have, but it will take a long time to pay off when there are other ways to troubleshoot issues like that.
- If you ever work with 66 or 110 blocks with any regularity, get yourself a good spring-loaded punch, usually a Paladin. If you don't get one with a pick, get a basic set of picks as well to keep with it.
- Small prybars. The first time you go to change batteries in a UPS and find out the old ones have swollen badly you'll be glad you had them. A pair of very large flat head screwdrivers can substitute, but be prepared to break them.

Not counting ridiculously expensive stuff like Fluke Netmeters, Sunset xDSL kit, and other specialized gear, my basic sysadmin-oriented toolbag is probably around $1500 USD. Unfortunately in my current environment we have no tools around so I have to bring in all my personal gear for it. Very annoying.

Comment Tone & Probe kit (Score 1) 416

They cost a little (if you look around you can find a decent one under $75), but I'd highly recommend a Greenlee like this kit:

The first time you find yourself needing one it will pay for itself in the labor saved. No matter how anal someone might be with labeling cables, you will always find a need for something like this.

Comment Re:Alton Brown (Score 1) 447

Yep, I own all of his books. Honestly I didn't care for the road show as much just because it completely misses the depth of teaching he always did on Good Eats. There were already way too many shows of that type on the air anyway.

I do agree that he made the US version of Iron Chef good rather than just tolerable.

Comment Re:brine is nasty (Score 1) 447

It makes good meat taste like ham.

BTW, that 155 better be Celsius. It seems high, but any other 155 (K, F, or R) would be horrid.

Then your ratios are WAY off and / or you are leaving it in the brine WAY too long.

And 155F lets it coast to 165F when rested, the FDA approved safe temperature for the white meat. I know from experience that below that the fucker is RAW.

Comment Alton Brown (Score 1) 447

I've learned two big things over the years, both from Alton Brown, the geek god of cooking:

- A brine beats injections. I used to inject, now I brine. I don't use his brine recipe though. Mine has the usual salt and sugar, but I also use broth, some apple juice, a cayenne-based pepper sauce (Frank's, Louisiana, etc.), butter and herbs (mostly sage of course). I warm it enough to dissolve everything and get the flavors mingling, chill it, and brine the turkey fully submerged, breast-down overnight. I'm about to go get my started right after I finish this post! I also reserve some of this brine to pool up inside the cavity of the turkey when I first throw it in the oven.

- Use a real thermometer. If you use his method (the hot start then foil shield) you'll pull it when the breast reaches 155 and after resting your white and dark meat temperatures should be dead-on.

Comment OS/2 Warp, Actually... (Score 1) 298

Back when I was in high school and using Win 3.1.1 on top of DOS 5, I came across a new copy of OS/2 Warp at a local computer shop, heavily discounted. I used it through my first year of college, where I got more and more into using Unix-related software under OS/2, thanks to the great porting work done by the community. I was regularly using vi, Apache, Perl, etc all directly under OS/2.

In school I used everything from DEC Unix (DEC OSF/1 on Alphas) to HP-UX on HPPA RISC boxes to, eventually, Linux, mostly in my on-campus job working at a research institute. That drove me to switch to Linux personally.

After dropping out of college due to money, I made my way quickly up the food chain at my first 'real' job. We had a mix of HP-UX and SCO in house, and no proper networking (10b2 all using "example" IPs out of the manuals--which were not private-space IPs). I modernized us and slowly introduced Linux into the mix. At the same time our primary software vendor (who I later went on to work for) started adopting Linux as well. We eventually displaced all of our HP-UX boxes and infiltrated the SCO install base with more and more Linux systems. Later on, when I went to work for that vendor, we got almost all of the installed SCO base replaced with Linux as well.

Long story short, using FOSS under OS/2 opened the door for me, while using it at work sealed the deal.

Comment More data? (Score 1) 141

Completely pointless. Providing a picture provides more data. If the celebrity they show is someone that looks young and healthy you're obviously more likely to think they would still be alive; likewise if they look like Mel Gibson after yet another bender, or a pic of Lindsey Lohan during one of her heavily coked-out phases you'd probably figure they were dead by now.

Comment Dubious... (Score 0) 81

Being from China, this has marginally more credibility than if it came out of North Korea.

I'd certainly love to see quantum entanglement become a usable means of communication, but all of the better minds than my own I've read say that due to uncertainty principles this would be impossible.

Comment Can you *really* justify it? (Score 1) 284

(Background: I've dealt with the custom software business in a different industry; I have no restaurant experience outside of watching every single episode of stuff like Kitchen Nightmares--US and UK. My industry does operate in a manner similar to how restaurants would seem to function.)

The biggest mistake I see out of smaller businesses is that they believe that massive amounts of redundancy. Will people die if your computers go down? Yes, spend the money. Is your business actually at risk of failing due to two days of your computers being down? Yes, the expense is justified.

So what is this software used for in a restaurant? Taking orders and distributing them to the appropriate kitchen stations. Maintaining inventory. Helping manage re-ordering. Maybe it extends to timekeeping for employees. Less likely to HR and accounting beyond that.

If you fall into this category, then you just go to paper if the computers fail. Keep a supply of paper ticket books around. Make sure you always keep a copy of daily reports of sales and inventory (either a hardcopy or a PDF or otherwise exported copy on disk on another system). If you have to go to paper then once you are back online you simply bring your inventories back up to date. If you have to place an order while your system is down, go off your last inventory report and your sales since then to do a replenishment order.

Not having technical staff on hand shouldn't matter. If it fails, they go manual then they call you or whoever their normal chain of support would be. You reconcile things as needed once the system is back online.

The world will not end if you have to rely on paper and calculators for a day or two.

Now if you really have the money to spend and really feel that your business is in serious danger by losing your computers for a day then go ahead with the expense.

Many posters above covered the basics at this point. The high end solution would be full redundancy of hardware and software. Dual servers with dual everything, live replication, etc. This is by far the most expensive route, but of course the most reliable and lowest down-time.

My choice?

We're talking about a restaurant. I can't possibly see this having a serious horsepower requirement. I would indeed have a basic server, but I would run the database (and server portion of your POS system, if it has one) inside a VM, probably a free or one of the less expensive versions of VMWare. I would regularly shut it down and copy the VM to either a second (inexpensive) server or, better yet, to a manager's desktop PC that has enough RAM to run the VM. Regular database dumps would be copied as well.

If it fails, you bring up the VM copy, load the last DB and you should be good to go.

Not having technical staff on hand shouldn't be an issue. You're a restaurant owner, and if the business is doing well at all you are probably working 80+ hour weeks and on call at a moment's notice any other time that the business is open. If you really can't, then get yourself a regular computer consultant that knows what knows your recovery plans and is on-call as needed. It may cost you a couple hundred a month to have one basically on retainer, but that's vastly less expensive than hiring dedicated technical staff.

Don't forget things like firewalling your servers if at all possible, and keeping at least one spare of your client PCs ready to swap in (particularly your receipt and ticket printers!).

Comment Cost - Only real issue with eBooks (Score 2) 418

My only real issue with eBooks, period, is cost. Why the fuck does the ebook cost more than a paperback copy?!?!? Why does it usually cost as much as the damned hardcover?!?!

eBooks were supposed to bring about a revolution. More people published, high profits for everyone involved, all while still costing radically less for the consumer. Instead it's become a pure money grab.

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