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Comment Re:Data Hoarding and my solution (Score 1) 414

Watch out for those "green" drives. We used ~a dozen of them in various (linux-based, whitebox & "proper" server-based) configurations and found they had the highest failure rate of any drive we've used. At the very least, a) read up on them and b) regardless of drive, monitor their S.M.A.R.T parameters for early signs of

failure (specifically bad sectors) and replace the drives when more than a few of these happen.

The three biggest problems imho with RAID are:

  1. 1. The controller issue you mention above -- we use software RAID on linux for this reason (most of the time)
  2. 2. Do you know when a drive is actually dead? It can be mostly dead and you don't know unless it gets kicked out of the array. It's scary how often 2 or more drives get booted from an array in short succession too. SMART monitoring is a must (Google did a major study on HD risk failures years back - *any* bad sectors at all, and particularly rate of change in bad sectors were the single biggest indicators of near-certain drive death within 6 months)
  3. 3. What happens (specifically to the various layers of caching) under power loss

#3 in particular is why some spend big bucks on expensive RAID solutions, #1 to an extent as well and particularly if you want 'performance'. You don't need this level of crazy, but you still need to be aware where your risks are so you can work around them.


Submission + - White house officially states: "We don't know ET" ( 1

ZeroExistenZ writes: The white house officially answered the question "Do we know ET?" following a petition. Phil Larson kindly points out what we already, dissapointedly, suspected.

The petition was motivated out of a white house committment, "We the people", to answer any petition within 30 days counting 5,000 signatures

Comment Re:Ports (Score 2) 459

Actually it would require a rewriting of the SMTP protocol :P However, the standard solution is to use port forwarding on an external unencumbered host accepting inbound port 25 and forwarding to your unblocked port (e.g. 1025). You can use a smarthost to similarly forward external email via another 'unblocked' host. This generally gets you closer to the benefits of a "local" mail server vs simply hosting your mail server external to your network.

Comment Re:Nah (Score 1) 498

Presumably this definition depends on the jurisdiction. At least in AU a contractor is as DragonWriter describes. A consultant can either be a contractor or an employee of a company. So typically it goes:

Internal roles:

  • casual employee (works less than full time, includes a 'loading' in their base rate to account for not paying them holiday pay, sick pay, long service leave etc)
  • part-time employee - same rights as full-time employee, but doesn't work full-time hours
  • full-time employee, fixed term - a full-time employee with an end-date
  • full-time employee - a full-time employee with an expectation of ongoing employment

Semi-external roles:

  • labour hire/temp - internal staff member 'loaned' by a 3rd party e.g. resourcing firm

External roles:

  • contractor - individual, usually with specialised skills &/or equipment, which is responsible for OUTCOMES not just effort. However they are often paid on an hourly basis. When they are, they are held to a higher standard of quality/responsibility than internal employees. They usually provide their own equipment, often work from home and typically only charge for directly produce work related to the task at hand.
  • company - of course a 'contract' defines the role provided, but usually the people providing the service on behalf of the company are employees of the external company. e.g. IT Consulting firms. They may be contractors etc. There are many advantages to this situation over hiring a straight contractor or any of the internal roles, but the cost is almost always higher due to overheads.


Comment Re:Golden two-punch (Score 1) 600

Dropbox is a decidedly single-user solution. Try running a corporate network of 20 people using add-hoc cloud-based file-sharing with no file locking. And try doing it without getting "Why can't I access xyz file?" or "What happened to my data?" questions every 15 minutes. File locking sounds like technical minutae until you realise it's probably the single biggest feature requirement of a reliable storage solution. Use a commodity NAS instead of you want free/cheap (just be wary that your backup position is likely to be unknown/untested, but that's probably on a par with giving the task to someone who doesn't know WTF they're doing on raw linux or M$ platforms). BTW there are some annoying limits with GMail for domains. Again though, beats trying to be a mail admin who doesn't know wtf they are doing :P

Submission + - Startup charity releases everything as open source (

David Kellam writes: "A Global Obligation is a startup charity founded by two tech entrepreneurs. It aims to provide universal primary education by 2015 in line with the Millennium Development Goals. In so doing, it will only accept $1 donations and the entire system from blueprints to lesson plans will be created, modified and shared as open source and open content.

A Global Obligation seeks to revolutionalise the way charities administer themselves through an ultra-low-cost online-only approach. It aims to raise awareness of charities and the problem of education in the developing world and plans to eliminate duplication of effort by open-sourcing everything it does.

Please support us!"

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