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Comment Um, physical security? (Score 1) 148

Nobody's mentioned the first tenant of information security (i.e. physical security) yet? Wow. There's no way I'd want any of my data sitting on a server in some random person's office building. Also, what about redundancy and bandwidth? This just seems like a really horrible idea from so many different angles.

Comment Re:$3500 fine? (Score 1) 286

Agree. If this is the standard punishment it's only good business sense to pay folks $1/hr and hope you don't get caught. For every hundred businesses doing it, I'd guess maybe a few get caught, so you essentially have a 90+% chance of being able to save yourself a huge amount of money, but if you do get caught it's no worry because all you have to do is pay the employees what you would've paid them anyway, plus a $3500 penalty.

This is grossly inadequate enforcement of our laws which affects all of us that are trying to demand higher wages. If someone from India can be hired to work for $1/hr, where's the incentive to pay an American minimum wage? The penalty for this ought to be based on the revenue of the company, and it should be steep enough to hurt them enough to be a real deterrence.

Comment Answered your own question (Score 1) 294

The speeds I experience are much, much slower than the speed tests show I'm capable of.

You answered your own question...if you're looking for a more accurate test that shows the speed you're likely to experience through the course of your normal browsing, then why not just use your normal browsing as the test? There is really no other accurate option since the Internet by its very nature is decentralized so even if you found a non-prioritized speed test server, those results would be meaningless for any other hosts because your traffic would likely flow a completely unrelated path to reach them. The ISP speedtest sites are usually located within the ISP's own network so they're a good measure of throughput from you to the edge of the ISP's network, which is all they really care (or can care) about. Just use a different ISP's speed test site if you want results from outside your ISP's network.

Comment Re:AWS is too expensive (Score 1) 142

the storage is extra

You're paying for storage either way but in AWS you don't have to try to figure out the max storage you'll need. Figure you design a system with a 3-5 year lifetime, so you need to know how much storage you'll need over that period. I don't know about you, but that's pretty hard for me to do. Plus, what happens when you do a major software upgrade and you want to retain full offline backups of everything for a couple weeks, effectively doubling of tripling your storage footprint during that time? The flexibility to get as much storage as you need and only pay for it while you use it is hugely useful.

the networking you pay for data per MB or GB in and out

You rarely if ever pay for data transfer into AWS., but for transfer out you'd have the same costs if you self hosted anyway. They wouldn't be per MB, they'd be flat rate, but you're getting a lot more for your dollar at AWS. Let's say you average 10 Mbps 24x7. That's about 2.96 TB of data transfer a month which costs $346 at AWS. A symetrical 10Mbps business connection for your office is probably going to cost you more than that. In addition to that, you're also getting much better redundancy and scalability at AWS and you don't have to pay for the network equipment (switches, routers, etc).

you pay for backups

You pay for backups if you self host too.

you pay for DR in different availability zones

You might. You can create an application in an autoscaling group and tell it to span multiple AZs but only deploy one instance to the group. If that instance in AZ 1 crashes the system will automatically launch it in another AZ and you're only ever paying for 1 instance. You can also create a DR instance in another AZ and just leave it powered off until you need it, in which case you're only paying for the EBS storage, no compute costs.

you have to pay more in your office internet access to get the faster access to access your data

That's true. Many apps these days are just web apps which are not super bandwidth intensive. A lot of times if you have big data it's not as easy to make a financial case for going to the cloud. You can use direct connect to get 1Gbps or 10Gbps access directly to your data in AWS but it is fairly expensive. If you've got terabytes of data though, you probably can make up the cost in other areas.

Comment Re:AWS is too expensive (Score 1) 142

That's partially true...US East is actually comprised of many different availability zones, each of which is self contained and housed in a physically separate data center. So, US East isn't going down, particular AZs go down from time to time and the way Amazon names them makes it exceedingly confusing to narrow down what's actually failing. us-east-1a for me may not be the same AZ it is for you. AZs are defined on a per account basis, so it just makes it easier to say the region has issues when technically that's incorrect.

But you're spot on when you say lots of customers aren't setting up proper redundancy. AWS has made it very clear from the beginning that for proper redundancy you want resources in multiple AZs. I still don't fully trust a multi-AZ setup because although I wouldn't expect Virginia to get many hurricanes, if they did it could impact multiple AZs. I'd really like to see AWS improve support for multi-region deployments. It's an area they haven't historically been very good at. A year or so ago they finally introduced the ability to copy EBS snapshots between regions. I was one of the customers that was pounding on their door to get them to do that so they let me in on the beta testing for it.

It's a shame too because it's really pretty easy to architect for HA in AWS if you're building something there, it's not as easy if you're transplanting something though.

Comment Re:Could we can the marketing crap? (Score 1) 142

It's definitely not the same as it was 10 years ago, not even close. 10 years ago we literally had server housing services, AWS can be that but it is also much more. Yes, part of AWS involves hosting servers, but AWS is a complete platform with its own toolset. And that's just talking about EC2. If you look at the other services there was nothing even remotely close on the market before them. Nothing like S3, RDS, Elasticache, Cloudfront etc existed in a form where it was available to everyone. Used to be you had to have a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get some of the features AWS provides today.

Even if you are talking about purely servers, AWS makes it very easy and inexpensive to accomplish a level of redundancy that would've been much more expensive in a legacy environment.

But it sounds like you're talking about two different things. If you're talking about someone saying "cloud" and having no idea what that means, then I can see your point, but it's not fair to use that logic in the same context when discussing cloud computing being used in the proper context.

Comment Re:Could we can the marketing crap? (Score 1) 142

"cloud computing" is nothing but a rather thinly veiled mix of software

I'd disagree with that pretty strongly. It can be that, but if you're using it for what it was really designed for then it's much more than that. Let's say you're a startup and you have no idea how your product is going to catch on. In the old world you'd have to buy or lease server capacity for what you anticipate your demand will be. In the cloud world, you just pay for enough to keep the system running at current demand levels, build your solution to scale horizontally, spend half a day configuring scaling policies then sit back and watch the solution take care of growing itself to meet demand.

Anyone with variations in demand can save money with the cloud. It no longer makes sense to pay to buy compute capacity to meet your maximum demand level if parts of that capacity will sit idle much of the time.

Comment Re:AWS is too expensive (Score 2) 142

Yes, but what if you actually want to turn it on? Then you have to pay for electricity and batteries and a generator and redundant A/C. Or if you want to connect it to the Internet reliably? Then you have to pay for multihomed Internet service. If you want it to be highly available then you have to pay for a data center to house it and probably another one for DR. If you want disk to go with it then you have to buy disk, and you have to figure out exactly how much you're going to need because if it turns out in a year or two that you need more than you thought you probably have to get another CapEx purchase approved. What if you bought too much hardware or not enough? Then you have to start over!

Not to say that AWS isn't more expensive in some respects, just highlighting the fact that other things are included in their pricing and the flexibility they provide.

Comment Old habits die hard (Score 1) 521

I Ctrl-S every time I make a substantial change to what I'm working on and I don't plan to stop. You can throw whatever kind of autosave feature you want in, but I'm not going to stop saving manually. I've seen too many people get burned by not saving and relying on autosave or not understanding what autosave is and what its limitations are.

The biggest problem I have with Ctrl-S is if I open an existing script with the intent of modifying it and forget to rename it before hitting Ctrl-S. That sucks.

Comment T-mobile (Score 1) 126

T-Mobile is already doing a variant of this. They recently pitched to the company I work for and it was a topic that came up in conversation. They apparently support voice and SMS over IP, so while they're not doing it over LTE, if you've got poor cellular coverage but have WiFi you can use that WiFi to make calls and send SMS texts transparently. It's only supported on Android devices because Apple doesn't want to support it for only one carrier (T-Mobile's explanation).

Personally, I'd like to see more carriers start doing things this way just from an end user experience perspective. T-Mobile has absolutely horrid coverage at both my home and office but at both places I have good Internet service so I can still use the phone normally.

Comment Next headline: Game of Thrones author PC crashes (Score 1) 522

Is it just me or does anyone else think it's probably pretty unlikely that he's making any kind of backups if he's still using DOS? I can just see the future headline now....Game of Thrones author loses entire body of work due to computer crash. How many data recovery shops do you suppose still support MFM disks?

Comment America let the telecoms do this to them (Score 1) 482

As my company's telecom manager, I probably have a somewhat unique perspective on these issues. The article is spot on in that people, in general, do not realize that the real cost of smartphones is $500+, they've been brainwashed to believe that the subsidized price is the price and that cell service costs $80-100 a month.

This worked fine until someone came up with a better model because people want high end devices, but if you look at the number of people that can afford to spend $200 on a phone vs those that could afford to spend $600 I think you'd agree that without some sort of subsidy or financing for these high end devices that Apple's stock price would not have done nearly as well as it did after the iPhone was released.

T-Mobile says they did away with contracts, but that's not what they did at all. They just disassociated the subsidy of the phone from the wireless service, so on AT&T or Verizon you buy a phone for $200 then you pay $100/mo for two years, total cost $2600. On T-Mobile you finance the phone and pay $25/mo toward the phone and $50/mo for wireless service, total cost $1800, savings of $400 a year over the AT&T / Verizon model. This works because T-Mobile will subsidize your ETF to get you to switch over from AT&T or Verizon, so they're racking up subscribers like crazy.

What will be interesting is to see how the game plays out. There will eventually be a tipping point where AT&T and Verizon realize they can't continue hemorrhaging customers so they'll step up and play ball cost-wise. The whole notion of competition in a free market increasing customer choice and driving down price really is a great thing.

Personally, I'm surprised someone hasn't stepped up to take the T-Mobile idea to the next logical level. Why hasn't a financial institution stepped up to be in the market for financing phones, so the cost of the device is totally separate from the cost of your wireless service? To make the requisite car analogy, you don't go to a car dealer and sign a contract with them to finance your vehicle. Well, you can, at a buy here pay here type of place, but in general for new car sales the financing of the car is totally separate from the entity that sells it to you.

Why aren't cell phones handled this way? There's plenty of money to be made for someone to finance phones. The whole idea of phones being locked to a certain carrier needs to go away as well. You have Verizon iPhones and AT&T iPhones and if you have one for one network, it won't work on the other network, even if it's unlocked. That's silly. Verizon phones can speak GSM (otherwise they wouldn't work outside the USA), so why isn't there a single version that will work with any carrier?

Comment Late 90s era Gateway 2000 servers (Score 1) 702

Back in 1997-1998 I interned for the high school I was attending over the summer as part of a tech project. We had a couple Gateway 2000 tower servers donated to us and we used to joke that if there was ever a hurricane we'd use them to build a barricade and crawl under them. They were full tower cases maybe 2.5' tall and they were quite solid. Cases today you can bend the metal easily just by pressing on it, the metal in those cases would've taken a hammer to bend. Maybe that's why they probably weighed about 100 lbs each.

Unfortunately, this is probably one of those things that was overbuilt for no good reason. I don't imagine many servers would have to put up with the level of abuse that would've been necessary to hurt those things.

Comment Not worried (Score 1) 397

I think this is bunk for a couple reasons. First, if you're a beer aficionado then a lot of the beer you drink probably comes from pretty small breweries, potentially small enough that they aren't big enough for it to be worth their time to setup arrangements with farmers to sell their waste products, so in that case it's not going to make a ton of difference.

Second, even if the above isn't true for you, there are plenty of very small breweries/brewpubs out there that definitely aren't doing anything like this. There are two in my town that brew something on the order of 50-100 barrels/year. They don't sell their waste products, they brew with quality ingredients and they have to pay rent, salaries, etc and they still manage to serve excellent beer for $5-6/glass (that's retail, consume on premise pricing) which I think is totally reasonable. If the little guy can do it then the big guys certainly can too.

Maybe it's a good thing though, perhaps it'll turn a few more people on to homebrewing which is really simple and very cost effective assuming you drink a good amount of beer.

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