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Comment Re:Chill out... (Score 1) 347

My answer was to "say no"

In fact, I went on to say "If you really need 24x7x365 support, you need three shifts of employees, not one poor bastard that you think you can call at 3am because something is unhappy"

It worked just fine and I never got a call. when I went home at night, I was gone. When I came back in the morning, I was there.

Setting limits with employers will do wonders for reducing stress and workload. They probably won't fire you unless they're complete dickheads, in which case a better job awaits somewhere else.

Comment Re:Don't put it on the Internet! (Score 1) 227

That is completely impractical.

People in userland need data from the SCADA network to keep the business running. They absolutely must have a way to get it. Saying "no" isn't an option.

Sure it is.
  Watch this: "You're being paid to do a job. Being inconvient helps to safeguard the public utilities and prevents tampering from remote locations. If I find any systems that are connected to the public internet in any manner no matter how convoluted, I will fire the responsible individual(s) and their manager(s) on the spot."

See how easy that is?

Need data? Write it to a DVD and sneakernet it to whoever/whatever needs it.

Good advice. Try it with 30 plants covering a 1500sq mile area. While you were out all day updating your servers, an instrument tech forgot to clean his thumbdrive before plugging it in to an IEM to update the firmware. Since you didn't have regularly updating anti-virus, your whole network is now down and the company is losing millions of dollars an hour in lost production while you try to clean the 60 servers and 400 consoles on your SCADA network.

That's even more of a reason to not be connected to the net. The damage would be limited to the area one man could travel in a day, instead of everything, everywhere.

And you know what? I don't care if it's practical. Not all jobs get to be "convienient".

Comment Re:Don't put it on the Internet! (Score 1) 227

Good safe practice for separating a process control network from the internet is something like: internet > corporate network > buffer network > process network. Completely separating it is not advisable, because it can actually make it harder to administer and protect (updates, antivirus, etc). It's an option though if you are diligent with sneakernet updates and whatnot.

That's absolutely a recipe for disaster.

Nothing on the SCADA system should connect to anything, on any other network, using any method. No VPN, VLAN, Dameware, Citrix, or anything else you can come up with. Nada. Zip.

If this makes updates harder, that's awesome. It's supposed to. Someone is getting paid to do maintenance. It's their job. If by chance, you wish to do an update at some point, download the update, verify all the signatures with the vendor, burn it to a DVD and walk it over and install it. Then put the DVD somewhere safe, so when your system goes down you can find out what did it.

Comment They seem to be missing the point. (Score 2, Insightful) 450

Advertising exists in order to create a demand for stuff people don't need.

People already know they need food, water and shelter. Nobody needs a steak from Outback or a new Disney toy.

They can't "force" anybody to do anything and if viewing specific content requires watching an ad, then I guess they'll have to get along without my business.


Submission + - 3D image of girl in street used to slow drivers (

An anonymous reader writes: Safety organizations are always searching for new ways to get drivers to slow down, but this latest idea may be a step too far. It may even cause accidents.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has partnered with safety group Preventable to place an optical illusion of a little girl chasing her ball in the street. For drivers it will appear as a 3D image of a girl in the street which they have to decide is real or not.

This experimental idea meant to remind drivers to drive within the speed limit and stay alert will first be seen in a school zone on 22nd Street, West Vancouver. It is made possible due to a $15,000 display that has been installed that allows the girl to be seen most clearly by drivers 30 meters away. Further away it won’t be seen as anything other than a blur, and as you get very close it will disappear.

Submission + - Written Specs vs Reality for HD Surveilance Cams?

pushf popf writes: I've been playing with HD video surveillance cameras, and purchased a Stardot NetCam SC 5MP Day/Night (IP). It's described as a 5 megapixel video camera with a 30 frame/second capture rate.

The specs say it's 30FPS, however the best I've ever been able to squeeze out of it is 3FPS. I sent it back to the factory and they said it was operating normally and that my network or server was probably slow. So . . .

I built a massively overpowered server with a high-performance RAID array and fast drives, and put the camera and the server on their own network switch. Guess what? (spoiler alert) It's still only 3FPS.

Is it possible this is as fast as it goes? If so, does anybody have any recommendations for cameras that actually meet their specs?

Any thoughts? While I don't need anywhere near 30FPS, 3 is just way too slow and I'm feeling just a little ripped off by Stardot.

Comment Re:Experience is a Gift... (Score 1) 602

Will be very happy when the market tightens up again (which unfortunately means ageism since the boomers ahead of me have to frikkin retire). And I sympathize with the poor graduating 20 year olds- they are screwed. No jobs so no experience and a $40k college bill.

Sorry to be a downer, but I'm at the tail end of the boom, but really like consulting, and won't be retiring until they drop me into a nice plot near a shade tree and a headstone. 8-)

Happily, if you're good, you can do the same thing. The amount of great work available for competent consultants is nearly infinite. Most of it involves fixing and taking care of stuff some twenty-somethings wrote at 3am after two years of 80 hour weeks, but I don't care since it pays well enough that 20 hours now pays more than 80 hours a couple of decades ago.

Comment Re:Experience is a Gift... (Score 3, Interesting) 602

because 20-something morons who have never seen a project managed competently think it's supposed to be that way." I would venture to guess...there are PLENTY of 40-50yr olds that have yet to see a project managed competently...

Most projects are doomed before they start, when the budget, timeline and requirements silently collide in huge explosion that nobody acknowledges seeing or hearing.

I remember back in the dark ages (early 90's) I sat through a meeting describing software that had an only slightly smaller scope than the creation of the universe. After the meeting, I told the project manager that the only way to be on-time, within budget and meet specs would be if he had a magic wand and a time machine.

For some reason that wasn't a popular opinion and I wasn't invited to any more meetings.

OTOH, the project was a massive money sucking hole, and when it was months overdue and way over budget, the company killed it and was sued for breach of contract. Then went bankrupt.

Successful project management starts with realistic expectations, budget and time-line, which due to market-pressures is usually absent.

Comment I'm an old timer and like vacations more than work (Score 1) 602

Why on earth should I work insane hours to write code that younger people can write faster and cheaper (and honestly probably better)?

Start your own business and hire the "young guns" instead of complaining about them.

If I need a bunch of code written, I'll hire 20-somethings to write it while I go SCUBA Diving in the Caribbean.

Life is short, you might as well enjoy it because, well, because . . . "fun is better than anxiety"

Comment Take a clue from SCUBA (Score 1) 520

In SCUBA diving, it's simply not possible to connect the wrong hose to the wrong thing.

Low pressure hoses (140PSI) simply do not fit in (3000PSI) ports. 200Bar regulators do not fit on 300 bar valves.

In fact, this is exactly the reason that household natural gas flexible connector fittings are no longer compatible with plumbing fittings.

There's absolutely no excuse for anything that connects to a human to have the possibility of a fatal mistake.

Comment No kidding. (Score 1) 125

Dude, I'm 33 years old. I'm married and I've got two kids. It has been years since anyone has been interested in my genitals, and I kind of miss the attention.

I think there are a lot of people with delusions of being supermodels.

Most of the people I see on planes are ugly as hell and getting me to stare at them naked all day on a scanner would require some serious compensation.

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