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Comment Re:Poor Diebold ATM programming (Score 1) 171

Never, ever deposit money into an ATM in that manner, especially a Diebold ATM.

The ATM the poster refers to does not accept envelopes. In fact, it does a count of the cash right then and there and asks for approval. Then, it rights the bill count and total right into the receipt. If it's before 8pm (at least at BofA) you get immediate access to those funds.

However, I agree about depositing envelopes full of cash into the old-style ATMs. Not so much because of mechanical errors, but because of bank workers pocketing the cash and then say "Gee, the customer deposited an empty envelope!"

Comment Random thoughts (Score 1) 264

One thing I'm struck by (over, and over, and over again) is just how frequently "solutions" to keep critical system from "ever failing" don't. I've personally witnessed a tens of multi-million dollar solution come crashing down due to a single failed server. And I'm not talking something that was whomped up in the back office by the team, I'm talking Major Vendors (you'd know the names if I could say them, but I can't; please don't ask), and by vendors that are not even given to being thought of as a simple lightweights (as some other, also nameless vendors are thought of). And in the case I'm thinking of, it wasn't a single point of failure. There were over two dozen other servers able to accept the virtual instance - but none did. So the whole house of cards came down. It was the final acceptance demo. Boy, was there a LOT of egg on faces.

About the only "highly available" services that I've really seen work are geo-seperated Xiotech sans, geo-separated Stratus systems - the old, old ones, running Motorola 680x0 chips, (8098 for example), IBM RS-6000's (with Oracle replicated databases), and (shudder) Sperry V-77's, hand built for wagering. (My GHU! People really still use Z80s!) My own private testing of 10 linux systems running in a cluster were more favorable than any major OEM's Windows/Intel solution, but as the creator of the demo, I can't claim to be completely unbiased. However, even with 5 of the 10 servers having had the power plug pulled (or SCSI card cable yanked, or in one memorable case, the mobo hit with a Taser - I hated that hardware and wanted to get rid of it), it did keep running just fine. Most times, the user did not have to authenticate again and the transaction was preserved, but a few tests, this didn't always work. The user had to log in again, and the transaction was rolled back and not completed.

I've never seen a "solution" put together with WinTel platforms that were absolutely reliable. They may be out there, but I've never witnessed one tested by the "Back Room Guys" that passed with flying colors. Perhaps this is because I'm stupid, ignorant, and can't construct a valid test. I'm open to being corrected... but so far, all I've ever heard are whines and nitpicks.

In a few cases, I wanted to tell the vendor "go put on your man pants and try again."

Comment Re:At least they don't pollute the city directly (Score 1) 278

Good point, I'd also wonder how much work would be needed to take care of abnormal events with an electric vehicle, e.g. a collision disturbing the integrity of the battery and wiring. This wuld be less of a problem with compressed air.

It'd be truer to say that it depends. Quite a few people have died in steam explosions, thought not as many lately.

Compromise a tank of gasoline and the reaction is limited by the availability of oxygen.

Compromise a lead acid battery and you have an acid/burning problem. The hazards are different for a LiIon, but on the same order.

Compromise a canister of air, especially one carrying a useful amount of air for powering a car, and you have a dangerous situation.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky