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Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 129

Well, there is a business balance to look at - risk mitigation vs cost. However, if you are in a business where you take reputational risk seriously, you have to take security seriously. This means going through the whole gamut of access management, strict password management, audits and pen tests, user education, as well as the traditional hardware and software based security tools. Are these perfect? Hell no! But, often times having a serious security posture makes the difficulty of attack higher and at least in the days before "state-sponsored hacking", it was enough to keep script kiddies and lone wolves away. Today, with hackers having greater resources behind them, we are seeing the online repetition of the first Iraq War where the powerful and mobile coalition forces overwhelmed the fixed, inferior Iraqi forces.

What Yahoo! apparently did was to de-emphasize security more that they should have. As a Yahoo! customer, I have taken measures to move all relevant connections away from them and will end participation in other services as many peers have done. If indeed the corporate decision (Marissa) was to not take the logical steps to shore up security in order to prevent more subscriber losses, then she was definitely not the right person for this position. A successful CEO cannot have a short-term mentality. Also, they should have a good sounding board (and an effective governing board) to review and counsel. There are many people to share the blame at Yahoo!, and if Verizon doesn't restructure their deal then their board needs to be looked at skeptically as well.

Comment Re:Report: Fire destroyed generators (Score 1) 239

Being a ditto-head here (and in the same field) having an ATS fail sounds right. No matter how well one tries to design redundancy and resiliency into a data center, there will always be that one weak spot. I would hope that Delta management and IT conduct a serious failure assessment (without it devolving into a witch hunt) to understand the failure process here and determine how to change it. I would like to see a better discussion of the exact cause so those of us in the data center industry can use the information to assess our own facilities.

And yes, regular service and maintenance might have helped catch this issue before it caused the outage.

Comment Re:Sometimes knowledge saves your back! (Score 1) 345

So - context:

1) Replacement parts were $100-150; which led me to think "Gee, I can do this!"
2) Reviewed video and decided "Nope" because of the time and effort needed.
3) Contacted local repair person(s) who stated (even after I told them what the problem was) they wanted to come on site. Finally, one gave me a ballpark $700-900 figure parts and labor,
4) Ordered new machine with a net cost less than the repair price thanks to my company's program to replace older appliances with newer (and hopefully more efficient) appliances

I realize that there is a landfill issue, but that is a secondary or tertiary issue when compared to having no washer over the holiday season (and a very upset spousal unit!). By contrast, when our dryer stopped drying a few months later, all it took was $45 in parts and about an hour of my time to replace two sensors and a heating element. Dryer now works properly.

I would rather that firms spend a little thought up front to make the current state of the art last a little longer, especially now that prices are getting into the ridiculous range.

Comment Sometimes knowledge saves your back! (Score 1) 345

Anyone might think something as low-tech as a washing machine would be easily self-repairable. When my mid-2000's front loader started sounding like a cement mixer, I went to the Intertubes and found relevant and well-documented repair videos. When I got to the end of the first video covering the complete teardown of said washer, ending with a requirement to find "a strong friend for the next steps" I called my local retailer and purchased a new washing machine. The point here is that while it would be nice to be able to fix some of the devices we own, sometimes the investment in time, money, health and frustration are not worth it versus replacing the broken device outright.

Comment Re:Not dead: just trying to grow up. (Score 1) 453

Being a ditto-head here. My 2010/11 Macbook Pro has 16Gb and the original slow 320Gb drive. As soon as I feel flush enough to spring for a 500Gb SSD, then that will be the last direct physical upgrade to what is a very reliable laptop. All the other items - external storage, larger monitors - are cheap enough to swap and upgrade as needed, but the core CPU will still soldier on.

Again, to echo what has been said here, traditional laptops/desktops are at the pinnacle of their power now and have been since about 2009 or so. Tablets and phones have made consumption easier, which takes that task away from the 'PC' and moves them more to the producer side. While I like my I-devices (there are at least 7 or 8 floating around between me, the wife and the dog) I really don't like creating or editing on them. It is not as easy (yet!) as on the traditional PC.

Comment Re:Good, someone needs to fix FreeNAS (Score 1) 58

I'll ditto CAIMLAS' remarks except that I run FreeNAS on a home-kludge setup - Sunfire x4100 with a no-name $99 external disk array and bundled eSATA card. Setup was clean and quick - the Sun hardware did not burp when I put the non-Sun eSATA card in - and now I am able to use the 3TB array as a networked Time Machine drive as well as a media drive. If FreeNAS can survive my ham-handed efforts, as well as small- to medium-enterprise installations for lower cost and better performance, then I think they are doing something right. Now, if someone wants to work on forked-daapd and bring it up to date with the current version of ITunes, I would be very happy.

Comment Are they that far behind the curve? (Score 1) 461

You know, if her contract was specific to her new book, and she retained the rights to the short stories, then Penguin is indeed the enemy. But, really, hasn't Penguin been reading the papers lately? This Intertube thingy is catching on - you can get direct to user music and videos and shopping. Aren't they a little behind the curve here?

Comment Nothing new here, move along... (Score 1) 362

Actually, the issue of decreasing linewidths has been a major concern ever since UV lithography came into play. The progress is really amazing. It was a big deal in the late '80s to get under 100nm, now there is consistent production at 32nm. There have been research programs investigating X-Ray lithography and electron-beam lithography, but I don't think any of these have panned out for mass production. Now, another concern is electron leakage from these tinier linewidths. Sure, high-K materials help, but there is still some loss.

Comment Sadly, a good idea was destroyed.. (Score 1) 428

I was an online facilitator for UoP from 2001 to 2002. I taught an intro course that went into the SDLC, and had a good time with it. A few of the students were not prepared for the work, but overall there was good participation and good feedback from both students and support faculty. I stopped due to family issues, and when I tried to jump back in a couple of years later, there was no interest in having a former, well rated facilitator on board.

In my last class, I had both a woman who lived in Idaho who was 2-3 hours away from a bricks and mortar school and a Navy seaman stationed in Guam. RIght there is a powerful argument for effective distance learning. Sure, some of us did do the "college experience" and we wouldn't trade what we remember for anything (and trust me, there are some things I really don't remember!). However, schools need to take back the online/distance learning franchise for those people who truly wish to increase their knowledge but cannot make the physical commitment to travel to a set location. Of course, many of these traditional schools like the endowments that help them build the ornate business schools or mall-like student centers because they can use that for advertising and for jacking up tuition.

In any case, someone in Education needs to do this right and not as a ripoff.

Comment It is no longer your "father's" IT business (Score 2, Informative) 453

A decade ago, I went from a university where I had built the network and helped move the campus into the information age to a business where the entire IT staff was outsourced since the business thought it would help them manage their costs. Couple that with the increase in government oversight and regulation (SOX, HIPAA), and now IT means spending more time writing process documents and less time working on the things that attracted bright people to the business. Ed Yourdon saw this coming in his book "The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer", but the same precepts apply across the board. If your function is thought to be a commodity, then business will find a lower cost provider than you. If (as others have mentioned) your IT functions are not seen as a strategic asset, then IT becomes a commodity automatically - something you have to have like lights, plumbing, power, garbage collection.

Comment Labs are not the whole answer (Score 1) 164

Labs, yeah, good times! The biggest problem is keeping the labs both operational and relevant. I just finished cleaning out my company's network lab as the switchgear was not L3-capable, out of production and out of our network, and none of the interfaces were faster than 100Mbps. None of it could be updated to a relevant OS level. It is mentioned earlier that if you are a large enough network, you designate a branch to serve as a guinea pig for planned changes. Also, if you have a branch close down, make sure you reclaim the equipment if it is new enough and use that for your 'lab' until the next refresh. Sadly, using older equipment only works if you never plan to use leading (bleeding?) edge features. However, my colleagues and I have found that using older equipment sometimes masks new and unknown interactions between the new services and older, perceived-stable, protocols.

Plan ahead meticulously - using paper and pen is not a sin as it is often faster than trying to model your system in software. Also, leverage your vendors heavily. They have the latest gear, and hopefully you will have service contracts, and they can assist you in planning out major changes.

Praying when a change goes in is good, too.

Comment Been there, got the "No Way" t-shirt (Score 1) 735

Back in my early techie years, I was a unionized IT employee at an East Coast university. When pagers started to roll out, our union leadership started to make noise about getting overtime (or added compensation) for carrying said pagers. Long story short, the university system leadership said not only "No" but "H*** No". We didn't strike either.

Fast forward about 23 years and the network group I was in had a rotating on-call pager. For a long time, we would take an extra day off to make up for the fact that we were on-call (answering questions that should never have come to our group). However, that ended with a new manager who said that we couldn't afford to provide these "undocumented" days' off. Our colleagues in a foreign country, however, still receive extra pay for carrying a pager.

Bottom line is, in the US over the last 20-25 years, employers have been squeezing the employees harder and harder even as more jobs go overseas or to low-balling contractors. Unless there is a major sea change in employer-employee relations (and there will not be any time soon), forget about collecting any extras.

Comment Performance is a driving issue (Score 5, Interesting) 624

A firm I worked with recently tore down an arbitrage network (they were getting out of the business as it was not core) which comprised of a great deal of Layer 2 dark fiber between sites in NYC and an external data center in NJ, Force 10 fabric switches with multiple paths to server clusters, and a great many Sun X-series servers running Linux. This arbitrage network bypassed the standard corporate (i.e. Cisco-based) network as they wanted exclusivity, higher bandwidth and as much speed as possible. Still, there were issues and the whole environment was scrapped since the actual returns did not match the expectations or cover the costs.

When I looked over the shoulders of the designers (they didn't want too much support from the regular network engineering team) they were concerned with raw performance and not as much with security or other daily operational issues. I would characterize it as the difference between, say, a NASCAR Sprint Cup car and your regular transportation. The former is purpose-built solely for performance while the other has to contend with safety requirements, daily functionality, and a lower common denominator for use.

Comment Linked In - worth the effort and exposure (Score 1) 474

Besides echoing earlier comments about keeping in touch with colleagues from previous employers, one feature of Linked In I find helpful is with research for jobs and companies. A head hunter pinged me about an interesting-sounding position at a local university. I went to the school's website and did not find it in their listings. I saw that one of my former colleagues was at a similar level at that school, so I queried him about the position. His reply was that there was no such position open - and he confirmed it with the VP supposedly hiring for that job. So, having the Linked In connections provides a great deal of added support to winnow out the garbage from recruitment firms.

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