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Comment Re:If it's unencrypted... (Score 1) 103

I must not be living in your universe then. The last time I experienced Forth was an interpreter on a cart I bought for my C64 back in the 80's. I think I popped it in the slot once, then it sat on a shelf for the next 10 years and finally got round filed. I can't think of anyone I know who would consider Forth more than a curiosity and more than one of them would try to re-write the module in Python, probably.

Alright, whippersnappers, listen up.

FORTH was incredibly useful in the day when many SS-50 Bus systems had 32KB memory cards. I had one that also came with an old 8-KB memory card, but wasn't functional because it's address space overlapped the 32KB card. A simple lookup of the address pins on the memory controller address chip provided the knowledge to re-address the card to a new range, and so I had a system with 56KB addressable memory (the processor card had RAM and ROM onboard.)

So what to do with the extra space? (Re-)Write my own FORTH based OS, which I had gotten from the FORTH magazine. The FORTH code was written in 8086 based assembler, but I had a MC6809, so a rewrite really sped things up. I even figured out how to thread the stacks so as to not have them collide, or simply scribble over all of memory.

As you can probably guess, the project was useful as a learning tool, not for any real work, but it was three years before the Apple or the IBM PC. I then wrote in Assembler (Flex, AFAIR) a printer driver to properly run my DEC LA36 in HiRes mode. I printed my first resume on it. A friend said "Don't use the bold font, it's ugly." My reply was that it was a testament to my skill, because none of the existing drivers outside of DEC equipment could do that.

BTW, SUN; IBM POWER; and OpenBOOT (AKA OpenFirmware) machines all used FORTH for boot loaders and console monitors. So it is more than a curiousity.

NOW get off my lawn. Or make my day, punk ;-)

Comment He's got to get together with Kevin Trudeau (Score 1) 634

"Maes said he thought promoting more bicycling was pretty harmless at first, but he realized later "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have." "

Psst, Dan and Kevin; I've got a proposal;

"International mind control conspiracies "They" don't want you to know about."

Of course, if I can suggest something like that, maybe I'm the one already in "control" hmm?

Comment Re:But Seriously: Bad news for TX high school grad (Score 1) 999

Possibly. That means, if an applicant wishes to apply to a school outside the Texas education system, they'll have to present a cogent, well presented argument as to why they are qualified. They may actually bump a few self-entitled nitwits off the accepted lists by doing so.

All 'round, not a bad way to go.

Comment Texas textbooks. (Score 0, Troll) 999

Why is this a problem for anyone not living in Texas?

If an employer wants a candidate with a full, rounded education, they need only look to where the individual got their education.

If it's Texas, no problem, automatic social Darwinism, and on to the next candidate.

For others, a real interview (with someone intelligent enough to understand the nature of the qualifications) may be in order. If they've been educated with a Texas textbook, that's easily discernible.

They've just condemned themselves to second-class citizenship, unless Texas secedes from the Union. Then, they're foreign.

Comment Software developer asks: (Score 1) 750

You say you are a developer, and ask a question like that?

And I didn't even pause to see if ANYONE asked this already. I don't care, because if you were on one of my teams and asked something like that, you'd be off my team in an instant.

"My driving habits don't cause the floor mat to slide much, so I see the update as overkill." Since when did the mechanical placement of a floor mat have ANYTHING to do with the "fly-by-wire" operation of the throttle???

I'm still dumbfounded that anyone could confuse the two.

Dave Lawson

Comment Tech support/Admins staffing levels (Score 1) 414

I worked for a major Novell distributor in the early nineties. At the time, the SUGGESTION from Microsoft for help desk staffing was 1 tech per 50 - 100 users, depending on the level of automation that could be done (this was Win 3.1, including server). Novell recommended 1 CNA and 1 CNE per 30 - 50 servers, but that varied according to the applications running on the NW servers.

The reason Novell bought USL (Unix Systems Labs) from AT&T was that 1 Unix admin could support as many as 50 - 75 servers, again depending on application type. UnixWare could run Oracle DB, and that meant there was a requirement for support admins for those "specialized" applications.

In 1994, Novell spun the Caldera group (which started as a lightweight desktop replacement for Windows) off from Novell. At the time, I was still closely connected to Novell's Unix products group mostly through Kent Prows, who had fathered UnixWare through development. I was told at the time that Novell saw the Caldera project's success, and immediately ceased further development on desktop UnixWare, because "this Linux thing can do everything UnixWare can." That was from one of my other contacts at Novell.

The reason for the digression was that Microsoft had popularized Windows through the CIO and IT departments as "minimum wage administration" (verbatim from an MS distribution rep) and Novell had the burden of showing that UnixWare had all of the advantages of Windows in ease of use, etc. However, they had to get over the fact that Corporate Types have an intrinsic desire to build an empire, and that meant plenty of foot soldiers, and hence the bigger Table of Organization meant more pay. They (CxO's) like that Windows takes more staff; more staff, more pay.

BTW, at the time, Macs took 1 admin per 200 - 300 workstations, because of the better quality of software, and more necessity of reliable OS; because Apple had to support all of the Macs out there in home user land. I don't think that has changed significantly.

So there you have it; because I sold Unix systems to all levels of the Federal Government (the CIA loved SPARC stations; but they ground them up when they were obsolete), I had to be pretty aware of these numbers.

You can probably find out today's staffing levels from the respective OS manufacturers, search their sites for "enterprise staffing levels".

And good luck with your quest.
Dave Lawson

Comment he just has to be smarter than Steve Ballmer. (Score 1) 468

Too easy, neither are Mensans, to be honest.
What will happen is that people using Google resources to do work, i.e. produce value from a source of raw material, with a definable effort, will simply stop going to Rupert's sources.
As those sources are marginalized, Rupert and Steve will become more strident in their objections to the easy access to information, but that won't stop the slide.
And Fox news (and all of the increasingly inappropriately named "News Corp.") will slide into the abyss of insignificance.
Pretty easy to see that one coming. And as Chromium OS and Android merge, that access will become easier than ever.

Comment Directory services (Score 2, Interesting) 149

I have a pretty long history of this, and I have set up a couple of major implementations (1,000,000+ objects) so I'm putting in my 2cents.

      I started with Novell's NDS in 1993 (yup, I was a beta tester) and so I am pretty oriented towards that product. Other Directory Service products I have managed include AD and eTrust. I am still most impressed with Novell's product, and for good reasons. AD is really an LDAP interface into a distributed registry. It is not really a full X.500 directory, and it weaknesses show when it comes time to upgrade or migrate. eTrust is built on the old Ingres database (Alan Lloyd couldn't get a free copy of Oracle) and there were issues with it's replication and failover modes when I ran it. Once burned, twice shy. The most reliable, in terms of not getting up at 2 AM, was eDirectory, and I still respect Novell's attitude towards Quality.

      The performance of most DS products is pretty equal these days, a test I read last year had a 4-core Opteron doing 60,000+ searches per second. That's plenty, divide the number of leaf objects by that number to find the number of processors you will need. More importantly is how you build your tree, and that is NOT a minor effort. Number one, you will need replicas, at least three of each partition in the tree. Number two, enough bandwidth to make sure that replication and synchronization is not impeded. Number three, you WILL have a number of arguments from the management team (if they are one) at the normal number of communication paths within the team, that is N! if they all fight separately, N!/P! if they gang up. These arguments will be centered on who has what access, up to why the tree doesn't place them at the top (hint: follow the organization chart. Get the CEO to tell HR to give it to you.)

      After that, it's really a matter of studying the available literature. Get a copy of the X.500 documentation to understand the standards for update and replication, and after that, try a couple of test implementations in a little three server lab. You can probably do that on a couple of one-lung PCs to get a feel for what the tree will look like and how to manage it. I haven't had a test lab in my house in a couple of years, but the last one was an Athlon laptop with OES 1 on it. Get a copy of NDS Basics from Novell Press and bone up. The other book useful to this effort is Open Enterprise Server Administrator's Handbook also from Novell Press. Grab an eval copy of OES and practice. When you go live, the price of the eDirectory component itself is worth the cost of OES.

Comment There are programs that can help, (Score 1) 459

if the big-money donaters want to improve things. However, throwing money at the problem seems to the way these guys operate. Pretty much the SOP for the unimaginative.


The issues in education start well before school age. In the 6-month to 4-year old range, most of the development takes place. Get the kids involved in the pre-school, and things take off.


Parrot Mimics Owner's Voice To Boss Around Her Other Pets 21

Barney, an African Grey Parrot, has learned to use his owner's voice to boss around her other pets. The bird, 10, squawks out orders like "come here" and even offers praise to his favorites such as "good dog." Margaret Sullivan, 65, says the bird's favorite game is calling out to a cat named Shadow. He then praises him when he does as he is told and sits on top of Barney's cage. Her husband says, "It's uncanny. He mimics her perfectly and when the dogs come over to the cage as if they are following his orders. The animals all think he's Margaret when he speaks. He loves ordering them around and commanding them — it's very surprising. He's not frightened or scared of them at all." Sounds like the beginning of a bad horror movie to me. Mimic Master; The last scream you hear will be your own.

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